Pixel Scroll 5/9/17 Help, I’m Floating And I Can’t Get Down

(1) D FRANKLIN AWARD PREMIERES. Nominations are open for a new award recognizing work in disability advocacy in SFF literature — “Announcing the D Franklin Defying Doomsday Award”.

This award is possible thanks to D Franklin, our wonderful Patron of Diversity who pledged the top pledge in our Pozible campaign!

The Defying Doomsday Award is an annual shortlist and prize. The award jury comprises Twelfth Planet Press publisher, Alisa Krasnostein, and Defying Doomsday editors, Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench. The award will grant one winner per year a cash prize of $200 in recognition of their work in disability advocacy in SFF literature.

Eligible works include non-fiction or related media exploring the subject of disability in SFF literature. Works must have been published in 2016.

We are now seeking nominations for the 2016 Defying Doomsday Award. Please submit your nominations to Tsana and Holly by filling in this form: https://goo.gl/forms/Kq8jGrXlAcdNumxy1

Submissions are open until July 31. The winner(s) will be announced in September.

(2) NOW ON SALE. It’s not exactly a Meredith moment, but until the end of May you can save $200 on The Virginia Edition of Robert A. Heinlein’s collected works. That lowers the price tag to $1,300 in the U.S., or $1,600 for an international destination.

(3) SCIENCE BOOM. You can watch a flock of “Science Movies on Netflix in May”. Two examples –

Available May 5

The Mars Generation (Netflix, 2017): Could humanity’s future include travel to Mars? Astrophysicists and astronauts weigh in on the challenges of long-distance spaceflight and the dream of missions that could transport people to the Red Planet. Meanwhile, teenage trainees at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center immerse themselves in work toward making that dream a reality.

Available May 15

Command and Control (PBS, 2017): Building a nuclear arsenal comes with incredible risks, and most Americans may be unaware that in 1980, an accident at a nuclear missile complex in Damascus, Arkansas, nearly resulted in the detonation of a warhead 600 times more powerful than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. Based on recently declassified documents, this fascinating glimpse into the American nuclear weapons program tracks its history, and evaluates the human errors and accidents along the way that could have doomed us all.

(4) THE BEER THAT HITCHHIKERS MADE FAMOUS. Martin Morse Wooster knows: “Short’s Brewing is notorious among beer geeks for its crazy beers.  So of course they produce Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster!  (It’s a really cool Space Invaders-style label.)”

(5) ANONYMOUS LONGLIST. Here’s something you don’t see every day, Edgar. An anonymous longlist for the 2017 James White Award has been announced – the titles of 17 short stories listed without the authors’ names, because the entries are still undergoing an anonymous judging process.

The administrators say the shortlist will come out within two weeks, and the winner announced soon after that.

(6) ABOARD THE QUEEN MARY. Ellen Datlow has posted her photos from StokerCon 2017 on Flickr. Below: Elizabeth Hand and Nancy Holder.

Elizabeth Hand and Nancy Holder

(7) WIN WWII QUICKER. Gregory Benford shares “The Big Idea” that led to his novel The Berlin Project.

How many more concentration camp victims would have survived if the war had ended one year earlier?  For one, Anne Frank. Most CC victims succumbed eventually to the rugged conditions… The difference between 1944 and 1945 as the end of the war is probably quite significant in terms of lives.

The central context for this novel came from the protagonist I chose to follow through it, Karl Cohen. I also folded in my experience of living in the US occupation of Germany in 1955-57, where my father commanded combat units.

Karl’s words made me think, because in the last year of war, whole societies collapsed. A million died each month, the Soviet Union captured many countries into subjugation, and the devastation of the Axis powers took decades to repair.

Alternative histories are ways of thinking. The entire history of nuclear weapons is interlaced with scientists considering the future, often using science fiction as a prompt. The 1913 “atomic bombs” of H. G. Wells and the Robert Heinlein and Cleve Cartmill stories in Astounding Science Fiction were indeed broadly discussed at Los Alamos –as told to me in detail by Teller.

The wartime investigation into the Astounding stories, as I depict from documents I found, now seems odd indeed. The fiction writers had no classified information at all, just good guesses. Still, this possibility was viewed as very important by the security agencies, including the FBI. As Robert Silverberg has wryly remarked, “Turning war secrets into second-rate SF stories might seem, to the dispassionate eye, a very odd way indeed of betraying one’s country.”

Karl Cohen was my father in law. In 2000 he was voted to be among the 50 most prominent American chemists of the 20th Century. But he was haunted by what he felt was his personal failure to convince the U.S. government to pursue the centrifuge approach during the war. He died in 2012 at age 99. Alas, I had only begun on the novel.

(8) A GLOWING SMILE. Win WWII – and prevent tooth decay! Atlas Obscura tells how Manhattan Project experts got sidetracked in their pursuit of Nazi nuclear technology in “The Mysterious Case of the Radioactive Toothpaste”.

(9) SAVE YOUR MONEY. BookRiot’s Kay Taylor Rea advises which of the Best Novel Hugo finalists to buy, borrow, or bypass.

Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

The final book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, Death’s End really goes for broke in its attempts to be an epic tale. I struggled through it for much the same reason I struggled through the first two books: the depictions of women are by turns baffling and infuriating. If you were bothered by that in the first two novels, I warn you it’s still at issue here. The woman at the center of Death’s End, engineer Cheng Xin, is by turns patronized, deified, and vilified both by the male characters and the narrative itself. If you can ignore this, and the author’s tendency toward paragraph upon paragraph of info-dumping, there are certainly the bones of a very compelling tale of humanity’s future within these pages. The science involved is fascinating, and if you’re on the hunt for oldschool hard science fiction this might fit the bill.

Verdict: Bypass unless you’ve read the first two and have a hankering for more hard SF.

(10) WHO IS NUMBER ONE? MeTV offers “TV Aliens, Ranked”.

Mr. Spock, ‘Star Trek’

Was this really a competition? Mr. Spock is beloved by the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise and fans of Star Trek alike. Even though Williams Shatner tried to take the lead on the original series, Spock’s likability and Leonard Nimoy’s depiction made him the most popular character on one of the most popular series of all time.

(11) WESTON OBIT. G.I. Joe inventor Stan Weston died May 1. The Hollywood Reporter recalls:

When Mattel’s Barbie dolls were introduced in 1960, Weston realized boys were an untapped market for the doll industry after noting that many of them played with Ken dolls. He conceived of the idea of a military action figure and in 1963 sold what would become G.I. Joe to Hasbro. The runaway hit would go on to be one of the most enduring toy lines in history, spawning hit TV shows and films as well.

…In 1989, he was among the inaugural class for the Licensing Industry Hall of Fame, which includes notables Walt Disney, George Lucas and Jim Henson.

(12) TODAY’S DAY

Jerry Goldsmith Day

Today Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer Jerry Goldsmith posthumously received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He scored a vast number of movies, including many genre films. Director Joe Dante, for whom Goldsmith scored Gremlins, Explorers, and Innerspace, lent impetus to the award, saying he’d been “flabbergasted” to learn Goldsmith had not already received the honor. Dante told Variety, “Any film he scored was automatically improved tenfold.”

 

(13) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • May 9, 1980 — Sean Cunningham’s Friday the 13th premieres in theatres.
  • May 9, 1997 The Fifth Element is released in the U.S.

(14) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 9, 1860 – J.M. Barrie

(15) COMPETITIVE LENGTHS. Greg Hullender says, “Inspired by a blog post from Rich Horton I did a quick analysis of the lengths of novellas overall vs. the lengths of the ones that are Hugo finalist.” — “Story Lengths and Awards: When Does Size Matter?” at Rocket Stack Rank.

It looks like (this year, at least), when it came to getting nominated for the Hugo, longer stories definitely did better than shorter ones in the Novella category and (less dramatically) in the Novelette category, but length had no effect on short stories.

In fact, the effect is so dramatic that the longest novella published by any print magazine is shorter than the shortest novella in the Hugo finalist list!

(16) DIAL 2140. Carl Slaughter did a mini-roundup on a popular new novel.

The New Yorker described Kim Stanley Robinson as “generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.”  The Atlantic described Robinson as “the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing.” Robinson’s novels have won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Campbell awards.  His body of work won the Heinlein award.  He was an instructor at Clarion and the 68th World Science Fiction Convention guest of honor.  Major themes in his novels:  nature and culture, ecological sustainability, climate change and global warming, economic and social justice, and scientists as heroes.

“The environmental, economic, and social themes in Robinson’s oeuvre stand in marked contrast to the libertarian science fiction prevalent in much of science fiction (Robert A. Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle being prominent examples), and his work has been called the most successful attempt to reach a mass audience with a left wing and anti-capitalist utopian vision since Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1974 novel, The Dispossessed.”  –  Wiki

Robinson’s latest novel, NewYork 2140 , which came out in March from Orbit, is about residents of New York coping the the drastic affects of climate change, namely rising sea levels.

As the sea levels rose, every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island. For the residents of one apartment building in Madison Square, however, New York in the year 2140 is far from a drowned city.

There is the market trader, who finds opportunities where others find trouble. There is the detective, whose work will never disappear — along with the lawyers, of course.

There is the internet star, beloved by millions for her airship adventures, and the building’s manager, quietly respected for his attention to detail. Then there are two boys who don’t live there, but have no other home– and who are more important to its future than anyone might imagine.

Lastly there are the coders, temporary residents on the roof, whose disappearance triggers a sequence of events that threatens the existence of all– and even the long-hidden foundations on which the city rests.

Praise for New York 2140:

“Science fiction is threaded everywhere through culture nowadays, and it would take an act of critical myopia to miss the fact that Robinson is one of the world’s finest working novelists, in any genre. NEW YORK 2140 is a towering novel about a genuinely grave threat to civilisation.”  ?  The Guardian

“An exploration of human resilience in the face of extreme pressure…starkly beautiful and fundamentally optimistic visions of technological and social change in the face of some of the worst devastation we might bring upon ourselves.”  ?  The Conversation

“As much a critique of contemporary capitalism, social mores and timeless human foibles, this energetic, multi-layered narrative is also a model of visionary worldbuilding.”  ?  RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!) on New York 214

“A thoroughly enjoyable exercise in worldbuilding, written with a cleareyed love for the city’s past, present, and future.”  ?  Kirkus

“The tale is one of adventure, intrigue, relationships, and market forces…. The individual threads weave together into a complex story well worth the read.”  ?  Booklist

(17) SPINRAD REVIEWED. Rob Latham shares his qualified enthusiasm for Norman Spinrad’s The People’s Police in “An Unkempt Jeremiad” at LA Review of Books.

I would affirm that The People’s Police is a continuous pleasure to read were it not for the poor production values that persistently hobble the story. While the physical book is well designed, including an arresting dust-jacket by Michael Graziolo, the text itself is littered with distracting typos, oddly repeated words (e.g., “his vehicle had come around again to where where Luke was standing”), and passages still showing the raw compositional process (e.g., “what the upstate Holy Rollers were calling called the People’s Police”). A better job of editing would have caught these various solecisms, as well as the embarrassing fact that some anecdotes — e.g., that Huey Long built “a half-assed half-scale replica of the White House” as his governor’s mansion — are recounted twice, thus compromising their effectiveness. Every time I began to fall under the spell of Spinrad’s kooky grandiloquence, some glaring error like this would throw me out of the story. This is particularly unfortunate given that, as noted above, The People’s Police marks the author’s dogged attempt to break back into the US market after a decade of frustrations.

All in all, though, I think the novel should be well received, as it manifests most of the strengths of Spinrad’s long career….

(18) APOCALYPSE OHIO. There were a few angsty moments at the Scalzi compound today.

(19) AT RISK COMICS. I scanned CosmicBookNews’ list of Marvel comics titles on the bubble, holding in mind the recent controversy about whether diversity sells.

Titles with an asterisk are already cancelled as of July.

CA: Sam Wilson – #21 – 18,650
Gwenpool – #14 – 17,972
Captain Marvel – #4 – 17,893
US Avengers – #5 – 17,880
Ultimates 2 – #6 -17,350
Dr. Strange & Sorcerers Supreme – #7 – 16,887
Man-Thing – #3 – 16,199 [Mini]
Hawkeye – #5 – 16,031
Totally Awesome Hulk – #18 – 16,009
Spider-Man 2099 – #22 – 15,273
Elektra – #3 – 15,113*
Silver Surfer – #10 – 15,041
World Of Wakanda – #6 – 14,547*
Nova – #5 – 14,525*
Silk – #19 – 13,524*
Thunderbolts – #12 – 13,780*
Kingpin – #3 – 13,765*
Rocket Raccoon #5 – 13,373*
Power Man & Iron Fist #15 – 13,055*
Bullseye – #3 – 12,912 [Mini]
Star lord – #6 – 12,278*
Squirrel Girl – #19 – 11,074
Occupy Avengers – #6 – 10,296
Unstoppable Wasp – #4 – 9,780
Great Lakes Avengers – #7 – 8,370
Moon Girl and Devil Dino – #18 – 7,966
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat – #17 – 6,943*
Mosaic – #7 – 5,876*

On the fence:

Ms. Marvel – #17 – 20,881

(20) GUARDIANS INSIDE INFO. Don’t view this unless you are ready for SPOILERS. Looper picks out Small Details In Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 Only True Fans Understood.

After all the hype, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 proved itself a worthy successor to the first film. With another Awesome Mix Tape blasting and another round of adventures for Star-Lord and his gang of unlikely heroes, Vol. 2 offered up the same mix of action and comedy fans have come to love. And like the first installment, the newest Guardians is packed with Easter eggs. Here are all the small details only true fans noticed in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Major spoilers ahead!

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Roger Silverstein, Cat Eldridge, Ellen Datlow, ,Andrew Porter, Kat, Kendall, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

2016 Bram Stoker Award Winners

The Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the 2016 Bram SToker Awards® on April 29 at StokerCon in Long Beach, CA.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Langan, John – The Fisherman (Word Horde)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Deady, Tom – Haven (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Alexander, Maria – Snowed (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Chambers, James – Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe (Moonstone)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Waggoner, Tim – The Winter Box (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Crawl Space (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Volume #2016/Issue#8) (Dell Magazines)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Oates, Joyce Carol – The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror (Mysterious Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Eggers, Robert – The VVitch (Parts and Labor, RT Features, Rooks Nest Entertainment, Code Red Productions, Scythia Films, Maiden Voyage Pictures, Mott Street Pictures, Pulse Films, and Very Special Projects)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Monteleone, Thomas F. and Monteleone, Oliva F. – Borderlands 6 (Samhain Publishing, Ltd.)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Franklin, Ruth – Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (Liveright Publishing Corporation)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Brothel (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Other HWA Awards

Mentor of the Year Award

  • Linda Addison

Silver Hammer Award

  • James Chambers

Specialty Press Award

  • Kate Jonez of Omnium Gatherum

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Dennis Etchison
  • Thomas F. Monteleone

Pixel Scroll 3/28/17 Nevertheless, She Pixelisted

(1) EXPANSE FREAKOUT PREMATURE. James S. A. Corey says to settle down.

Anyway, they always have the books to fall back on…

(2) DON’T BE SHOCKED. Jim C. Hines didn’t expect people to be surprised when he told them “Yes, I Still Get Rejections”.

A while back, I posted something on Facebook about a rejection I’d received on a project. I was a bit taken aback when several people offered to “have a talk” with the editor. Others questioned the editor’s mental health for rejecting a Jim Hines story. It was flattering, in a way — I love that I have fans who are so enthusiastic about reading new stuff from me — but I think it might also reflect a basic misunderstanding.

Rejections are part of the job. They don’t suddenly stop when you become more successful. They’re less frequent, yes. Much less frequent, and my own mental well being is unspeakably grateful for that. But with the possible exception of folks like Rowling and King, we all risk rejection when we write.

Over the past year, I wrote a short story for an anthology that got cancelled. Another editor said they were interested, so I sent the story their way. They read it, said some nice things, and rejected the story. And they were right to do so….

(3) SF MUSEUM EXHIBIT. From June through August 2017, the Barbican Centre museum in London will present the exhibition Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction, which is curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger and will explore science fiction as an experimental genre. The Wire supplies the details in its article “A new Barbican exhibition will explore science fiction from a multidisciplinary angle”.

It’ll include more than 200 books, original manuscripts and typescripts, contemporary and existing art works, 60 film and TV clips, unseen footage, adverts, concept art, film props, comics, video games and robots.

Australian duo Soda_Jerk will present Astro Black, a two-channel video installation with a focus on Sun Ra’s theories of Afrofuturism and featuring footage of Kraftwerk, DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and Public Enemy. Plus Ben Frost and Daníel Bjarnason’s score inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1973 film Solaris will be performed with Poland’s Sinfonietta Cracovia, plus video accompaniment by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson.

(4) THIS IS SO WRONG. “Firm Floats Plan to Hang Colossal Skyscraper From an Asteroid”NBC News has the story.

Dubbed Analemma, the fanciful tower wouldn’t be built on the ground, but suspended in air by cables from an asteroid repositioned into geosynchronous Earth orbit just for the purpose.

Over the course of each day, the floating skyscraper would trace a figure-eight path over our planet’s surface, according to plans posted online by Clouds Architecture Office. It would swing between the northern and southern hemispheres, returning to the same point once every 24 hours.

The speed of the tower relative to the ground would vary depending upon which part of the figure eight it was tracing, with the slowest speeds at the top and bottom of each loop, the plans say. The asteroid’s orbit would be calibrated so that the slowest part of the tower’s path would occur over New York City.

…Analemma would be powered by solar panels and use recycled water. Lower floors would be set aside for business use, while sleeping quarters would be sited about two-thirds of the way up. The plans don’t say exactly how people would get on and off the building, though one illustration seem to show people parachuting from the tower to the ground.

(5) EXTENDED FAMILY. Lightspeed Magazine’s Christian A. Coleman interviewed Nnedi Okorafor.

You wrote in the acknowledgments of Binti that your daughter, Anyaugo, essentially came up with the plot of the novella. Was she also involved in plotting Binti: Home?

Anya didn’t come up with the whole plot of Binti. I was stuck on that ship with Binti and the murderous aliens; I knew the ending, but I wasn’t sure what should happen next. I told her about being stuck and she suggested something that went on to become a major part of the plot. The same happened with Binti: Home. When I write, Anya is very often around me or FaceTiming with me. So I’ll look up from writing and talk to her about what I’m writing. She always has something to say, and nine times out of ten, it’s good stuff. The same with part three. There was a major part in part three that we actually argued over because it was disturbing. I wanted one thing; she was like, “Heck no! You can’t do that.”

We live with my characters.

(6) GRRM AND LIBRARIANS. StokerCon is coming up April 27-30 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA.

George R.R. Martin will be there on Saturday for an interview and signing.

HWA is sponsoring Librarians’ Day at StokerCon 2017 – which is essentially a day pass for Thursday of StokerCon, as I haven’t seen anything requiring proof of being a librarian in the purchase information.

(7) TUMMY TIME. “Karen Gillan’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ Costume Explained, but Does the Reason Make It Okay?” Yahoo! Movies ponders the answer.

When the first footage of the film was released during CinemaCon, the reason for her ensemble was revealed. The plot involves four high-school students who are forced to clean out the basement of their school while in detention. They find an old video game (rather than a board game like in the version of the movie starring Robin Williams) and each chooses a character to play. The teenagers become the characters they selected, leading a nerdy boy to become The Rock’s character and a popular girl to become Jack Black‘s character.

A more shy, reserved teenage girl ends up becoming Karen Gillan‘s character. The video game is old and dusty, so presumably the reason that she is dressed in tiny clothing is because that’s how female video game characters used to be dressed.

Is that enough of a reason for a movie to dress the character this way? Should the objectification of the female lead in the movie become permissible because Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’s film creators wanted to be hyper-accurate to old video games? Does the fear of being anachronistic by giving Gillan pants or a fully formed top justify the male gaze? Do the critics who hated Gillan’s outfit feel soothed by this explanation?

(8) DON’T SOUND SO SURPRISED. Io9’s take is “The First Footage From Jumanji Is Surprisingly Very Fun”.

…They realize that, because they are in a video game, they each have video game powers. For example, Johnson’s character is super strong and Gillan’s character is a dance fighter, which they joke about. And also, she very quickly acknowledges how ridiculous it is that the game makes her outfit so skimpy. A kind of guide character tells them they have to place a jewel back into a statue to leave—but as they progress, the challenges get greater and greater. Killer animals, evil men on motorcycles, just lots of crazy stuff. And, like a video game, they each have three lives. If they lose those, they die for real.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 28, 1979 Phantasm was released. John King Tarpinian adds, “Angus Scrimm, The Tall Man, used to come to Ray Bradbury’s Pandemonium Theater Company‘s plays.”

(10) IN GREAT DEMAND. James A. Owen’s seven-day Kickstarter to publish an Inklings Art Print Set hit 200% of its goal on Day One. These involve the illustrations he produced for Bandersnatch by Diana Pavlac Glyer.

Not only can you see the drawings of the individual Inklings at the Kickstarter site, several are matched with photos of scholars and fans who visited to the English locations and recreated the authors’ poses, which I found highly amusing.

(11)THE TRICORDER HAS ARRIVED. And in more than one version. The Washington Post’s Karen Heller, in “This ‘Star Trek’-inspired gizmo could win its inventors $9 million”, profiles George, Basil, and Gus Harris, who are hoping to win a prize of up to $9 million from the Qualcomm Foundation for producing the first successful “tricorder”–defined as a hand-held medical device that could detect blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, and nine other conditions.  The rules are that this device has to weigh less than five pounds and can be mass-produced.

… Harris assembled a seven-member team — himself, three of his siblings and three friends — all of whom were managing full-time jobs. They worked nights and weekends in his home outside Philadelphia, crashed after 72-hour engineering marathons, churned out prototype after prototype on three 3-D printers in Harris’s jumble of an office, each plastic part taking up to 24 hours to fabricate and with his three children, ages 11 to 15, often overseeing sanding and wiring.

The XPrize field began with 312 teams from 38 countries.

Now, improbably, Harris’s group is one of two finalists for the $9 million prize. The winner is scheduled to be announced April 12.

Harris’s competition is Dynamical Biomarkers Group, as formidable as its name: a group of 50 physicians, scientists and programmers, many of them paid for their work, led by Harvard Medical School professor C.K. Peng, a physicist with a 29-page résumé, and backed by the Taiwanese cellphone leviathan HTC and the Taiwanese government.

So, this is basically a Basil and Goliath story….

 

Brothers George, Basil and Gus Harris examine prop tricorders from the Star Trek series. (Courtesy of XPRIZE)

(12) LUCAS INCREASES SCHOLARSHIPS. Liz Calvario on Deadline.com, in a piece called “George Lucas Family Foundation Donates An Additional $10M to USC in Support of Student Diversity”, reports that the George Lucas Family Fund has donated $10 million to the USC School of Cinematic Arts for scholarships for African-American and Hispanic students.

The George Lucas Family Foundation has donated an additional $10 million to USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, expanding its support of student diversity, announced Dean Elizabeth M. Daley. The new endowment raises the Foundation’s total donation to $20 million.

Established in the fall 2016 semester with an initial $10 million, the George Lucas Family Foundation Endowed Student Support Fund for Diversity was created for students from underrepresented communities who qualify for financial support. African American and Hispanic students in both undergraduate and graduate programs receive priority consideration for support from the Fund. Students are known as George Lucas Scholars or Mellody Hobson Scholars….

(13) IT MUST GO OFF. The File 770 comments section yielded an item for the Wordspy newsletter.

WORD OF THE WEEK

Chekhov’s lesbian n. The principle that every reference to a minority in a fictional story must be relevant and irreplaceable. [This is a play on “Chekhov’s gun,” the Russian short-story writer’s famous dictum that memorable story elements should also be necessary and relevant (see this week’s Quote, Words, Unquote).]

Okay, let’s codify it — Chekhov’s Lesbian: if a character in fiction is portrayed as a member of a minority group, that character’s minority status must become a relevant plot point before the end of the story. (Term used sarcastically.) —Darren Garrison, “Pixel Scroll 5/19/16 I Am Not In The Scroll Of Common Men” (comment), File 770, May 20, 2016

 (14) SHORT NOTE TO L.D. COLTER. The Michael Glyer who’s on Twitter is not me. I don’t have a Twitter account because occasionally I’d fly off the handle and tweet something dumb and there it would be for the rest of time. The other Michael Glyer doesn’t appear to have that problem. So there could be worse things than me being mistaken for him.

(15) LOVECRAFT IN NEW MEXICO. As the locals say, it’s not new, and it’s not Mexico, H.P. Lovecraft of Ask Lovecraft visited George R.R. Martin in Santa Fe and recorded a couple segments of his vlog, which can be viewed at the link.

Seeing HPL at Meow Wolf was especially fun, since there are a couple of… ahem… decidedly Lovecraftian touches to be found in the House of Eternal Return.

If you ever get a chance to see Leeman Kessler perform as HPL, do catch him. It’s the next best thing to a shuggoth on your doorstep.

(16) MARTIAN ODDITIES. FiveThirtyEight does both a statistical analysis and a historical survey of Mars in the annals of pop culture — “This Is Why We Love Stories About Mars”.

Movies about aliens are getting more popular. Movies about Martians peaked a while ago.

…But multiculturalism was only part of the era’s Mars story. The 1950s and ’60s saw Martians firmly established on television as belligerent invaders. Marvin the Martian was introduced to give Bugs Bunny a worthy foe hell-bent on destroying Earth.3

There is something poetic about Marvin being the referee in “Space Jam” in the game between the Tunes and the Aliens. After all, he’s a creature of both worlds.

A 1960 episode of “The Twilight Zone” called “People Are Alike All Over” featured a Martian society that was just as indifferent and cruel as humans on Earth. The episode “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” played into the anyone-could-be-the-enemy-spy fears of the early 1960s, with invaders posing as humans to begin their infiltration.

In comic books, Martians are — with one notable exception — the baddies. Martians who show up in a Marvel comic are sure to be villains. Sometimes they’re Nazis dressed up as Martians to scare New York. Either way, these comics are stories about external threats made real, conquerors, spies, warlords and assorted monsters of the week. In DC Comics, the White Martians are boilerplate invader types, as are Yellow Martians and the original Burning Martians. Only the Green Martians, of which there remains one — the Martian Manhunter — aren’t out for Earthling blood, despite their ridiculous power.

In the contemporary era, humans dealing with Martians are occupiers, not collaborators. It rarely goes well….

[Thanks to Gregory N. Hullender, Rich Lynch, Rob Thornton, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, DMS, rcade, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

HWA Taking Applications for 2017 Scholarship From Hell

The Horror Writers Association is accepting applications for its Scholarship From Hell until March 15.

The winner of the scholarship will receive a trip to StokerCon 2017 aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and  participate in the intensive, hands-on workshop environment of “Horror University.”

Horror University has more than 20 different sessions and other options this year, conducted by these notable authors and editors:

  • Gretchen McNeil: Character-Driven Plotting and the 3-Act Horror Novel
  • Jonathan Maberry: Act Like a Writer
  • Jack Ketchum: Writing from Experience, Writing from the Wound
  • Linda Addison: Scary Forms: The World of Structured Poetry for All Writers
  • Nicole Cushing: How to Give a Great interview
  • Joe Nassise: Story Engines
  • John Skipp: How to Write Like a Scenarist (And Adapting to Stage, Screen and Comics)
  • Josh Finney / Kat Rocha: Writing for Comics and Graphic Novels
  • James Chambers: Picturing Fear: Writing Horror Comics and Graphic Novels
  • Tim Waggoner: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Horror
  • Ace Antonio Hall: Lord of the Flies: Fitness for Writers
  • Patrick Freivald: Saying More with Less
  • Sèphera Girón: Tarot Cards and Writing 101
  • Hank Schwaeble: Saying More With Less
  • Jason V. Brock: Take Your Writing to Another Level
  • Johnny Worthen: Mistakes Were Made
  • Michael Arnzen: Making Readers Squirm
  • Tom Leveen: How to Write Awesome Dialog
  • Kate Jonez: Editing Intensive

Membership in HWA or StokerCon is not necessary in order to apply. Enter using the form here.

The scholarship winner will be announced March 30.

Everyone else who is interested can purchase admissions to the individual sessions can be here.

2015 Bram Stoker Awards

Bram Stoker Award trophy

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association announced the winners of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards® tonight at StokerCon in Las Vegas.

(Another group that drives people insane — their website calls these the 2015 awards, the livestream calls them the 2016 awards. The HWA shortlist announcement in February said 2015, so I’m going with that.)

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Paul Tremblay – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Nicole Cushing – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • John Dixon – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Sam Weller, Mort Castle, Chris Ryall, & Carlos Guzman (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Mercedes M. Yardley – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • John Palisano – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • David Robert Mitchell – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Michael Bailey – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Lucy A. Snyder – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Stephen Jones – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Alessandro Manzetti – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Other Awards: HWA’s Specialty Press Award was presented to Borderlands Press. The annual Specialty Press Award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction.

The Richard Laymon President’s Award was given to Patrick Freivald and Andrew Wolter, moderators of HWA’s Facebook group. The award is named in honor of Richard Laymon, who died in 2000 while serving as the HWA’s president. It is given by the HWA’s sitting president. The Award is presented to a volunteer who has served in an especially exemplary manner and has shown extraordinary dedication to the organization.

HWA’s Silver Hammer Award went to Michael Knost. Knost provides one of HWA’s most beneficial opportunities to new members by chairing the organization’s Mentorship Program, which matches newer writers with experienced pros for a year-long intensive training.

The Mentor of the Year Award went to Tim Waggoner. The HWA’s Mentorship Program Chairperson and the Program’s Committee select the award’s recipient.

The Horror Writers Association recognized Alan Moore and George A. Romero with Lifetime Achievement Awards. HWA gives Lifetime Achievement awards to individuals whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre.

Watch the Bram Stoker Awards Tonight

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) is livestreaming the Bram Stoker Awards® ceremony tonight.

The ceremony begins at 7:30 p.m. PDT on Saturday, May 14, 2016. It’s part of HWA’s inaugural StokerCon, which opened yesterday at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, and runs through Sunday. The ceremony will be emceed by Jeff Strand.

Live Stream Link: http://www.onlineevent.com/bramstokerawards2016/

2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Bram Stoker Award trophy

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards®.

This is not the list of finalists, but the list which HWA members will choose among when they vote to determine the finalists. The final ballot will be revealed February 23. The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced May 14 as part of the first annual StokerCon in Las Vegas.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Barker, Clive – The Scarlet Gospels (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Bates, Jeremy – The Catacombs (World’s Scariest Places: Book Two) (Ghillinnein Books)
  • Clines, Peter – The Fold (Crown)
  • Collings, Michaelbrent – The Deep (self-published)
  • Faherty, JG – The Cure (Samhain Publishing)
  • Ferrario, Keith – Monster (Samhain Publishing)
  • Freivald, Patrick – Black Tide (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Johnson, Jeremy Robert – Skullcrack City (Lazy Fascist Press)
  • Klavan, Andrew – Werewolf Cop (Pegasus)
  • Lane, Leigh M. – The Private Sector (Eldritch Press)
  • Talley, Brett J. – He Who Walks in Shadow (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Tremblay, Paul – A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Alameda, Courtney – Shutter (Feiwel & Friends)
  • Cushing, Nicole – Mr. Suicide (Word Horde)
  • Erb, Thom – Heaven, Hell, or Houston: A Zombie Thriller (Severed Press)
  • Harmon, Kenneth W. – The Amazing Mr. Howard (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Hawkins, Scott – The Library at Mount Char (Crown)
  • Herrman, Heather – Consumption (Hydra)
  • Kirk, Brian – We Are Monsters (Samhain Publishing)
  • McIlveen, John – Hannahwhere (Crossroad Press)
  • Romines, Kyle Alexander – The Keeper of the Crows (Sunbury Press, Inc.)
  • Smith, Jean Claude – Riding the Centipede (Omnium Gatherum)

 Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Brozek, Jennifer – Never Let Me Sleep (Permuted Press)
  • Chupeco, Rin – The Suffering (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • Collings, Michaelbrent – The Ridealong (self-published)
  • Dixon, John – Devil’s Pocket (Simon & Schuster)
  • Hill, Will – Department 19: Darkest Night (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Hurley, Tonya – Hallowed (Simon & Schuster)
  • Johnson, Maureen – The Shadow Cabinet (Penguin)
  • Sattin, Samuel – The Silent End (Ragnarok Publications)
  • Varley, Dax – Bleed (Garden Gate Press)
  • Welke, Ian – End Times at Ridgemont High (Omnium Gatherum)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Harrow County, Vol. 1: Countless Haints (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Gischler, Victor – Hellbound (Dark Horse Books)
  • Kipiniak, Chris – Behemoth (Monkeybrain Comics)
  • Kirkman, Robert – Outcast, Vol. 1: A Darkness Surrounds Him (Image Comics)
  • Lucarelli, David – The Children’s Vampire Hunting Brigade, Vol. 2: Age of the Wicked (Creator’s Edge Press)
  • Snyder, Scott – Wytches, Vol. 1 (Image Comics)
  • Tobin, Paul – Colder, Vol. 2: The Bad Seed (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Weller, Sam, and Mort Castle (editors) – Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (IDW Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Braunbeck, Gary A. – Paper Cuts (Seize the Night) (Gallery Books)
  • Eads, Ben – Cracked Sky (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Edelman, Scott – Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen (Dark Discoveries #30)
  • Gunhus, Jeff – The Torment of Rachel Ames (Seven Guns Press)
  • Mannetti, Lisa – The Box Jumper (Smart Rhino Publications)
  • McGuire, Seanan – Resistance (The End Has Come) (Broad Reach Publishing)
  • O’Neill, Gene – At the Lazy K (Written Backwards)
  • Parent, Jason – Dia de los Muertos (Bad Apples 2) (Corpus Press)
  • Partridge, Norman – Special Collections (The Library of the Dead) (Written Backwards)
  • Yardley, Mercedes M. – Little Dead Red (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Bailey, Dale – Snow (Nightmare Magazine #33)
  • Boston, Bruce – A Trader on the Border of the Mutant Rain Forest (Daily Science Fiction)
  • Braum, Daniel – An American Ghost in Zurich (Savage Beasts) (Grey Matter Press)
  • Gonzalez, Michael Paul – Choking Hazard (Winter Horror Days) (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Jonez, Kate – All the Day You’ll Have Good Luck (Black Static #47)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Massacre of the Mermaids (The Massacre of the Mermaids) (Kipple Officina Libraria)
  • O’Neill, Gene – The Algernon Effect (White Noise Press)
  • Palisano, John – Happy Joe’s Rest Stop (18 Wheels of Horror) (Big Time Books)
  • Southard, Nate – The Cork Won’t Stay (Nightmare Magazine #34)
  • Walters, Damien Angelica – Sing Me Your Scars (Sing Me Your Scars) (Apex Publications)
  • Wong, Alyssa – Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers (Nightmare Magazine #37)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Benson, Justin – Spring (XYZ Films)
  • del Toro, Guillermo, & Matthew Robbins – Crimson Peak (Legendary Pictures)
  • Franz, Veronika, and Severin Fiala – Goodnight, Mommy (Ulrich Seidl Film Produktion)
  • Fuller, Bryan, Steve Lightfoot & Nick Antosca – Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb (Dino De Laurentiis Company)
  • Gimple, Scott M. – The Walking Dead: Here’s Not Here (AMC)
  • Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: And Hell Itself My Only Foe (Showtime)
  • Logan, John – Penny Dreadful: Nightcomers (Showtime)
  • Mitchell, David Robert – It Follows (Northern Lights Films)
  • Waititi, Taika & Jemaine Clement – What We Do in the Shadows (Unison Films)
  • Zahler, S. Craig – Bone Tomahawk (Caliber Media Company)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Bailey, Michael – The Library of the Dead (Written Backwards)
  • Datlow, Ellen – The Doll Collection: Seventeen Brand-New Tales of Dolls (Tor Books)
  • Delany, Shannon, and Judith Graves – Beware the Little White Rabbit (Leap Books, LLC)
  • Golden, Christopher – Seize the Night (Gallery Books)
  • Jones, Stephen – Horrorology (Quercus Publishing)
  • Kilpatrick, Nancy, and Caro Soles – nEvermore! (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing)
  • Maberry, Jonathan – X-Files: Trust No One (IDW Publishing)
  • Miller, Eric – 18 Wheels of Horror (Big Time Books)
  • Murano, Doug, and D. Alexander Ward – Shadows Over Main Street (Hazardous Press)
  • Nassise, Joseph, and Del Howison – Midian Unmade (Tor Books)
  • Rector, Jeani – Shrieks and Shivers from the Horror Zine (Post Mortem Press)
  • Thomas, Richard – Exigencies (Dark House Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Braunbeck, Gary – Halfway Down the Stairs (JournalStone Publishing)
  • Brozek, Jennifer – Apocalypse Girl Dreaming (Evil Girlfriend Media)
  • Cummings, Shane Jiraiya – The Abandonment of Grace and Everything After (Brimstone Press)
  • Cushing, Nicole – The Mirrors (Cycatrix Press)
  • Everson, John – Sacrificing Virgins (Samhain Publishing)
  • Grant, Taylor – The Dark at the End of the Tunnel (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Litherland, Neal F. – New Avalon: Love and Loss in the City of Steam (James Ward Kirk Publishing)
  • O’Neill, Gene – The Hitchhiking Effect (Dark Renaissance Books)
  • Snyder, Lucy A. – While the Black Stars Burn (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Warner, Matthew – Dominoes in Time (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Everett, Justin, and Jeffrey H. Shanks (ed.) – The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers)
  • Hutchinson, Sharla, and Rebecca A. Brown (ed.) – Monsters and Monstrosity from the Fin de Siècle to the Millennium (McFarland and Company)
  • Jones, Stephen – The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
  • Knost, Michael – Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth (Seventh Star Press)
  • Mynhardt, Joe, & Emma Audsley (editors) – Horror 201: The Silver Scream (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Olson, Danel – Studies in the Horror Film: Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (Centipede Press)
  • Soderlund, Sarah – Haunted by the Abyss: The Otherworldly Experiences of Paranormal (Llewellyn Publications)
  • Southall, Richard – Haunted Plantations of the South (Llewellyn Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Boston, Bruce – Resonance Dark and Light (Eldritch Press)
  • Crum, Amanda – The Madness in our Marrow (Amanda Crum)
  • Gailey, Jeannine Hall – The Robot Scientist’s Daughter (Mayapple Press)
  • Hanson, Michael H. – Dark Parchments (MoonDream Press)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Eden Underground (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Morgan, Robert – Dark Energy (Penguin Books)
  • Opperman, K.A. – The Crimson Tome (Hippocampus Press)
  • Randolph, Michael – Poetic Allegories (Eldritch Press)
  • Simon, Marge – Naughty Ladies (Eldritch Press)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – An Exorcism of Angels (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Horror Writers Association has presented the Bram Stoker Awards since 1987.

 

Horror Writers Association Scorecard

2015 Bram Stoker Award winners: Jack Ketchum, John Dixon, Jonathan Maberry, Lucy A. Snyder, Linda D Addison, Rena Mason, Joe Lansdale, Jason V Brock, William F. Nolan, Michael Knost, Dacre Stoker, Usman Tanveer Malik, Lisa Morton, Maria Alexander. Photo by John Palisano.

2015 Bram Stoker Award winners: Mandy Slater (accepting on behalf of Tanith Lee), Jack Ketchum, John Dixon, Jonathan Maberry, Lucy A. Snyder, Linda D Addison, Rena Mason, Jason V Brock, William F. Nolan, Michael Knost, Usman Tanveer Malik, Ellen Datlow, Lisa Morton, Maria Alexander. Photo by John Palisano.

“There’s something I’ve just got to mention about this year’s Bram Stoker Awards winners,” Lisa Morton, President of the Horror Writers Association, told Facebook readers. “For the first time (at least the first time with a substantial number of categories), we’ve got a perfect 50/50 gender split on the winners. I just can’t help but think that’s pretty great.”

The Examiner also quoted Morton and delivered some fresh HWA news in a report about the 2015 Bram Stoker weekend:

“The past year had its challenges,” said HWA President Lisa Morton, who succeeded Rocky Wood after his death in 2014. “But on a night like this, we are reminded of the amazing talent in horror. The men and women honored tonight helped make 2014 an extraordinary year for the horror genre.”

At the start of Saturday’s ceremony, Morton announced the launch of StokerCon, an annual horror convention presented by the Horror Writers Association. The first StokerCon will be held at The Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV on May 12-15, 2016. The HWA has already confirmed acclaimed author R.L. Stine as one of StokerCon 2016’s Guests of Honor.