(1) POSTER CHILD. Early this year Cat Rambo placed herself at the forefront of the movement encouraging writers to put up awards eligibility posts, and using the authority vested in her by the Science Fiction Writers of America now calls on everyone to do it.
Wondering whether or not to post an awards eligibility post? I am asking you, as President of SFWA, to do it. Stop worrying.
— Cat Rambo (@Catrambo) December 5, 2016
Practicing what she preaches, Rambo has done a year-end recap of her publications:
The stories of my own I am pushing this year are “Left Behind” (short story), “Red in Tooth & Cog” (novelette), “Haunted” (novella co-written with Bud Sparhawk), and the fantasy collection Neither Here Nor There. SFWA members should be able to find copies of those on the member boards; I am happy to mail copies to people reading for awards whether or not you are a member. Drop me a line and let me know the preferred format. I am looking for reviewers interested in Neither Here Nor There and happy to send copies as needed.
The recap contains links to nearly 30 other F&SF writer awards eligibility posts.
(2) PW PRIDE. Rambo is also proud of Publishers Weekly’s starred review for her new short story collection Neither Here Nor There.
This double collection showcases Rambo’s versatility within the fantasy genre. In the “Neither Here” half, tales set in her existing worlds of Tabat (“How Dogs Came to the New Continent”) and Serendib (“The Subtler Art”) rub shoulders with new worlds of magic and mystery. “Nor There” displays her skill at seeing our world through different lenses, with locations including steampunk London (“Clockwork Fairies”) and urban fantasy Seattle (“The Wizards of West Seattle”)…
(3) SCREEN TIME. George R.R. Martin is getting busy recommending things for Hugos – including other people’s things.
For my part, I already know what two of my Hugo nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form will be. ARRIVAL, to start with. Terrific adaptation of a classic story by Ted Chiang. Brilliant performance from Amy Adams. (She is always great, I think, but this was her best role to date). A real science fiction story, not a western in space. Intelligent, thought-provoking, with some wonderfully alien aliens. And WESTWORLD, season one, from HBO. Of course, as with GAME OF THRONES, one can nominate individual episodes of this one in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form… but for me it makes more sense to nominate the entire season in Long Form. (GAME OF THRONES season one was nominated in this fashion
(4) HITS AT THE LIBRARY. Library Journal’s “Best Books 2016” picked these as the top five titles from the year’s SF and fantasy.
Borderline, by Mishell Baker
The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman
Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire
Behind The Throne, by K.B. Wagers
(5) SURPASSING THE MASTER. No spoilers for the movie Arrival in the following excerpt, only for the story it’s based on. But it’s natural that the movie spoilers quickly follow in Peter Watts analysis of the adaptation: “Changing Our Minds: ‘Story of Your Life’ in Print and on Screen”.
What might come as a shock— and I hesitate to write this down, because it smacks of heresy— is that in terms of storytelling, Arrival actually surpasses its source material.
It’s not that it has a more epic scale, or more in the way of conventional dramatic conflict. Not just that, anyway. It’s true that Hollywood— inevitably— took what was almost a cozy fireside chat and ‘roided it up to fate-of-the-world epicness. In “Story of Your Life”, aliens of modest size set up a bunch of sitting rooms, play Charades with us for a while, and then leave. Their motives remain mysterious; the military, though omnipresent, remains in the background. The narrative serves mainly as a framework for Chiang to explore some nifty ideas about the way language and perception interact, about how the time-symmetric nature of fundamental physics might lead to a world-view— every bit as consistent as ours— that describes a teleological universe, with all the Billy Pilgrim time-tripping that implies. It’s fascinating and brow furrowing, but it doesn’t leave you on the edge of your seat. Going back and rereading it for this post, I had to hand it to screenwriter Eric Heisserer for seeing the cinematic potential buried there; if I was going to base a movie on a Ted Chiang story, this might be the last one I’d choose.
With a focus on intersections (academic and creative writing; film, art, and games) we aim for GIFCON’s inaugural event to be a crossroads at which these communities can meet and come into conversation.
Fantasy at the Crossroads: Intersections, Identities, and Liminality
29th – 30th March 2017
What is Fantasy? This is a question that the University of Glasgow’s MLitt in Fantasy has explored throughout its first year. While this may seem an unanswerable question, for many of us, fantasy is where reality and the impossible meet. Fantasy inspires a sprawling collection of worlds that stem from a myriad of identities, experiences, and influences. From traditional epics to genre-melding, fantasy branches out into every style imaginable. Cross-sections of genre and identity create cracks in traditional forms, opening in-between spaces from which bloom new ideas and stories.
Examples of intersections in fantasy can be found in:
– Julie Bertagna’s Exodus trilogy, which explores environmentalism within the context of fantasy and science fiction.
– Arianne “Tex” Thompson’s Children of the Drought series, which focuses on subversions of race and gender.
– China Miéville’s The City and the City, which fuses the detective novel with the fantastic.
– Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child, which uses fairy tale inspirations to create a magical realist setting and narrative.
– Netflix’s Stranger Things, which melds horror with Dungeons and Dragons via a coming-of-age science fiction story.
– The Elder Scrolls video game series, which intersects narrative, music, and visual arts.
– Frank Beddor’s Looking Glass Wars series, which combines science fiction and fantasy to explore unique, genre-melded world-building.
…Please submit a 300-word abstract, along with a 100-word biography (both in DOC or RTF format) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 19th December 2016.
(7) RIVENDELL AUDIO. Here is the schedule of December Readings from Rivendell program in the Twin Cities, MN.
(8) WETA DIGITAL END OF YEAR PARTY 2016. I’d love to be on the invitation list for this shindig —
The Weta Digital End of Year Party has always had the reputation of being the best party in town. As with previous years, no one knew where the party was being held, or what was involved, all we knew was we had to go to platform 9 at the Wellington train station. After boarding buses at the station, we were transported to the secret location. This is what went down after we arrived… The party was themed by the four elements of nature – Water, Fire, Air/Wind and Earth. As you can see in the video, the themed installations and performance art at the party location were fantastic, and an amazing time was had by all! A big thanks to Weta Digital for putting on such an incredible party!
(9) PUCK VS. CUPID. The Book Smugglers present Tansy Rayner Roberts’ review of the year’s favorites in “Smugglivus 2016: A Very TansyRR Smugglivus”. There’s a lot of entertaining writing in the post, not to mention revelations about the previously unsuspected (by me, anyway) subgenres of gay hockey comics and novels.
This has also been an important year for Check! Please, one of my favourite all time web comics. I a couple of scary, stressful months earlier in the year, and the Check! Please fandom pulled me through until I was ready to face the world again. Check! Please was already an adorable gay hockey comic about bros and sports and friendship and pies, but its creator Ngozi gave us so many gifts this year, starting in February with The Kiss which pretty much made the comics fandom lose their collected minds.
Their love is so canon, y’all!
We’ve also had several waves of updates throughout the year, following the ups and downs of our hero Bitty and his secret NHL boyfriend. Ngozi also launched a Kickstarter for the book publication of Year 2 which was crazy successful, showing how dramatically her work’s popularity has soared since Jack Zimmermann got a clue that he was a character in a sweet gay rom com, not a gritty hockey tragedy.
(10) HINES BENEFIT AUCTION #9. The ninth of Jim C. Hines’ 24 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auctions is for an autographed copy of Jenna Black’s Replica, and a matching handmade pendant to go with it.
About the Book:
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake’s marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in the Corporate States. She lives a life of privilege even if she has to put up with paparazzi tracking her every move, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image—no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.
Nathaniel Hayes is the heir to the company that pioneered human replication: a technology that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Except he’s more interested in sneaking around the seedy underbelly of the state formerly known as New York than he is in learning to run his future company or courting his bride-to-be. She’s not exactly his type…not that he can tell anyone that.
But then Nate turns up dead, and Nadia was the last person to see him alive.
When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory back-up, he doesn’t know what—or rather, who—killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.
(11) NOT ASKING SANTA FOR THESE. This link leads to a page from Hunter’s Planet of the Apes Archive. Consider it an online museum of print advertising for Planet of the Apes merchandise.
(12) IN DOORSTOPS TO COME. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have sold another Big Book – “Announcing The Big Book of Classic Fantasy”.
As Ann and I announced on social media last week, we’re thrilled to have sold another behemoth of an anthology, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy, to editor Tim O’Connell at Vintage Books!! Tentatively scheduled for publication in 2018 and covering roughly the period 1850 up to World War II. Thanks to our agent, Sally Harding, and the Cooke Agency. This will be our fourth huge anthology project, following this year’s The Big Book of Science Fiction, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and the World Fantasy Award-winning The Weird.
Will this anthology include not just your favorite classics from the English language, but also translations from all over the world? Yes. Will it include never-before-translated new stories? Yes. Will it include the best of the Decadents and the Surrealists in a fantastical vein? Oh yes, most certainly. We hope to widen our net on the translation side, focusing on areas of the world that have been underrepresented in prior anthologies.
(13) WILLIAMS OBIT. Van Williams, famed as television’s The Green Hornet, has died at the age of 82.
Variety reports he actually died on Nov. 28, but his passing only became publicly known on Sunday.
Born in 1934 in Forth Worth, Texas, Williams was working as a diving instructor in Hawaii when he was discovered in 1957 by producer Mike Todd, who persuaded him to move to Hollywood. He earned his big break two years later with a lead role on the ABC private detective drama “Bourbon Street.” He followed that with “Surfside 6,” starring opposite Troy Donahue.
However, it’s on the short-lived “Green Hornet” that Williams made a lasting mark as newspaper publisher Britt Reid, who fought crime as the masked Green Hornet alongside his partner Kato, so memorably played by Bruce Lee.
(14) TODAY IN HISTORY
- December 3, 1974 – The last new episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was broadcast on the BBC.
(15) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born December 5, 1901 – Walt Disney
(16) A CAPRINE TRAGEDY. As discussed in comments on an earlier Scroll, the Gävle Yule Goat was burned down on its inauguration day, and replaced by a baby goat made of straw.
Only a week later, a vandal drove a car into the replica.
But in the early hours of Monday, those who were unable to sleep and instead found themselves watching the goat’s webcam feed (we’re told this is a thing) were able to see in real-time how someone raced towards the new goat in their car and brutally ran it over.
(17) SEND THE BILL TO LUCASFILMS. VentureBeat has been reliably informed coff that “The Death Star would cost $7.8 octillion a day to run”.
The British energy supplier Ovo has put some very well-spent hours into a comprehensive calculation of the operating costs of the Death Star, which will return to the spotlight in the December 16th movie Rogue One. They conclude that operating the planet-destroying starbase would cost 6.2 octillion British pounds, or $7.8 octillion, per day—that’s $7,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.
To put that absurdly large number in perspective, $7.8 octillion is more than 100 trillion times the $70 trillion annual global economic activity of Earth, or 30 trillion times the roughly $200 trillion in wealth on our little blue planet.
(18) WHAT IF THEY’RE NOT LITTLE AND GREEN? NPR reports on NASA’s efforts to recognize life if they find it:
There’s a growing interest in so-called biosignatures — or substances that provide evidence of life — because NASA has upcoming missions that have real potential to search for them. Those include a visit to Europa in the 2020s and the 2018 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which could scan the atmospheres of planets around other stars.
The last thing NASA officials want is a repeat of the experience with the Viking missions back in the 1970s, when analysis of Martian soil chemistry produced what was initially interpreted as evidence of life — but then later deemed a false-positive.
“I remember the aftermath of that,” says James Kasting, a professor of geosciences at Penn State University, who was tasked with planning this week’s meeting. “NASA was criticized heavily for looking for life before they had investigated the planet and for not having thought that through carefully. They’re hoping to avoid that same experience.”
Finding life means first defining life, and NASA’s Green says the key features are that it must metabolize, reproduce and evolve.
(19) ESA WILL BUILD ROVER. The European Space Agency will build a Mars rover, even if the cost keeps going up.
Europe will push ahead with its plan to put a UK-assembled robotic rover on the surface of Mars in 2021.
Research ministers meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, have agreed to stump up the outstanding €436m euros needed to take the project through to completion.
The mission is late and is costing far more than originally envisaged, prompting fears that European Space Agency member states might abandon it.
But the ministers have emphatically reaffirmed their commitment to it
(20) AUTO INTELLIGENCE. Uber has bought an AI company to move toward self-driving car.
Ride-sharing service Uber has acquired a New York-based artificial intelligence start-up which it hopes can speed up its progress in creating self-driving cars.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Uber gain 15 specialist researchers who will form a new division at the company known as Uber AI Labs.
(21) DISAPPEARING STAR. Did you enjoy the video of Chris Pratt’s magic, linked here the other day? Cards aren’t the only medium he does tricks in — “Chris Pratt keeps cropping Jennifer Lawrence out of Instagram selfies and it’s hilarious”.
The acting megastar duo are both starring in upcoming sci-fi romance Passengers, but throughout the film’s promo tour 37-year-old Pratt has been enjoying social media hijinks by cutting out 26-year-old Lawrence whenever the pair share a snap together….
(22) WINTER IS COMING. At Dangerous Minds, “Stunning images of pagan costumes worn at winter celebrations around the world”.
In a recent interview, French photographer Charles Fréger revealed that he has always been fascinated by European tribal traditions. This fascination inspired the well-known artist to travel all around Europe to capture images of people dressed in ritualistic costumes honoring the arrival of winter and other seasonal celebrations.
Fréger began his journey in Austria and to date has photographed stunning costumes and rituals from 21 countries around the world. According to Fréger there are many celebrations that mark the arrival of winter that take place in the Czech Republic and, say, Italy that are quite similar when it comes to the materials that are used to create the costumes. Such as the incorporation of animal pelts, branches from trees, horns and bells into the costumes. Though they may share similar appearances, the story behind each living piece of folklore varies from country and location. Here’s more from Fréger about why so many of these celebrations often involve a human masquerading as an animal:
It is not about being possessed by a spirit but it is about jumping voluntarily in the skin of an animal. You decide to become something else. You chose to become an animal, which is more exciting than being possessed by a demon.
(23) LOL. Larry Correia goes through the comments carefully answering everyone’s questions about when the electronic and audiobook versions of his latest novels will be available, when one fan decides to yank his chain:
Ben Smith: Will the leather bound book have a kindle version?
(24) MR. GREEN HAS ARRIVED. Let’s kick off the verse segment of today’s Scroll with a link to Theodora Goss’ “The Princess and the Frog” which begins….
I threw the ball into the water.
The frog came out and followed after,
bringing me the golden ball —
which I did not want at all, at all.
(25) SEASONED GREETING. Joe H. and Heather Rose Jones produced this collaboration in comments.
Lo, how a pixel scrolling,
From tender file hath sprung…
Of Glyer’s laptop coming
As SMOFs of old hath sung
(26) THEN ONE FOGGY CHRISTMAS EVE. In a piece called “Hamildoph (An American Christmas Story)” the group Eclipse 6 performs “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” as if it was done by the cast of Hamilton.
I cannot fly if I cannot see, people!
I’m in dire need of assistance.
Your Excellency, you wanted to see me?
Rudolph, come in—did you say “brrr”?
Yes, sir, ‘cause it’s freezing.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Rambo, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]