Corflu 35 Report

By Taral Wayne: We live in an on-line world in which Corflu is no longer entirely for the enjoyment of a couple of score fans who have the means to travel. Now everyone can watch the proceedings live as they happen. For the first time in quite awhile I was able to witness a Corflu that was not merely virtual, but actually real … and it does still make a difference.

I was somewhat nervous when I set out, despite having done all this before, having planed it all ahead, and actually pretty confident that nothing ought to go wrong. And by George, it really didn’t seem to! I arrived on Friday afternoon after somewhat more than an hour on the road. Traveling Matt cam through beautifully, and at the first opportunity it was plugged in to top up the juice.

I have to say I had a pretty good time, and even recognized a number of people I had not laid eyes on for 20 or 30 years… In one case, I may have last seen one fan in the 70’s!

I collected an envelope of con pubs, fanzines and a badge at the front desk — despite a certain tardiness in preparations, Catherine and Colin seemed to have matters under control, and no-one seemed to think delays were anything unusual or to be excited about. With the last detail in place … I relaxed.

Saturday was pretty full, with most of day engaged in traditional talking heads. The amount of media evident would have done a White House press conference proud. I expected to be press-ganged into one panel on the use of fanart in comparison to photos, but I bowed out when it was found that the table was not really large enough for five. That was all right with me … I think I could have expressed my thoughts entirely in about three sentences, and more or less did exactly that from the audience.

I seem to recall a break after that, prompting me to locate the con suite where I hoped to find some grub. I found better than grub, and was never short of food. However, upon leaning that the con auction had begun, I met my first set-back at Corflu. The hotel was genuinely peculiar in that some of it was in one building, and the rest in another, connected by a glassed in bridge.  This was no problem for most people, since there were only four or five steps to mount one side and cross to the other.  It should not have been a problem for me, either, since there was a motorized lift.  It was rather flimsy looking, and as first I was nervous about sliding off the side and falling to the ground.  But my fears were groundless, so to speak.  I was given a key by the front desk and instructions on its use.  It worked exactly as it should have, and that was how things stood when I returned the way I came to raid the con suite.  However, that was not how it worked the second time!  I was able to mount the lift and drive to the other side and, but nothing would make the second half of the lift operate so that I could dismount on the other side!  We called for three increasingly more important employees to come and look at me – hanging precariously on the lift – but only pronounce in the end that is was “broken.”  At least I was able to dismount on the far side and re-mount on the near side, and wasn’t trapped until someone could repair the lift however many days later…

There was another route into the other half of the hotel, which would have allowed me go through the lobby there, enter the authorized only area to use the employee’s elevator to re-enter guest area on the other side, and finally join the Corflu auction in progress.  But I just plain thought it wasn’t worth the effort at that point.

All the same, that was exactly what I had to do on Sunday, to join the brunch.  It actually didn’t turn out to especially complicated once I had done it.  However, I didn’t know where everyone had gotten to, and stupidly waited in the program room for several minutes before someone wandered by to remind me where I was supposed to be!  So I was fortunate enough not to miss lunch.  As soon I as I had cleaned the plate,  of my last pound of bacon, the tables were cleared for announcements and the FAAn Awards.

Mike Glyer has already announced them on File770, so I won’t repeat then.  All the same, it must be admitted that there were a few unexpected surprises.  I don’t feel it is my place to comment on them, but I trust there will be quite a lot said in the next few days.  You have probably seen the obvious … that I was acclaimed as the new Past President of the Fanzine Writers of America.  What may seem even less likely was that I honestly had no idea – with other things on my mind over the last year — who the nominees were or anything else.  In fact, I was feeling rather drowsy while the nominees were read and the winners announced.  So when was told I had suddenly become the Past President, I was not entirely kidding when I said I had missed the whole thing.

By unlikely coincidence, Alan Rosenthal was chosen of Corflu 35’s Guest of Honour.  The only reason I had a place to stay at the hotel was because Alan offered me the fold-out couch in the other room.  As a result, the con had the new Past President asleep on a couch, while the Guest of Honour was asleep in the bedroom with Jeannie Bowman.

It was late afternoon by that time, and out-of-town guests began to drift away to taxis and airports.  What was left of the food and supplies were carried up to the Dead Dog Party.  There was quite a decent number of fans who were staying over to Sunday, and I might have stayed in the other for a third night if I chose.  It was a near thing, since the night was cool and had rained.  But I was fairly tired and would be grateful to sleep in my own bed instead.  I stayed while Traveling Matt was entirely re-charged once more, then said my goodbyes around 9 or 9:30

I have to admit that I really enjoyed seeing so many I hadn’t seen in years, for many reasons.  The odd thing was that I experienced it in a way that I hadn’t before.  Worldcons are too busy, and you often spend only a few minutes with people and then never encounter them for the rest of the con.  I’m forced to say, as well, that I was a late bloomer.  I was only really getting to know fandom  — and then me, I suspect – late in life.  But there had been almost no opportunity to genuinely relate to the names and printed words as real people.  I may not have another chance … but … well, who ever really knows?

Pixel Scroll 1/10/18 Learning To File, By Tom Pixel And The Scrollbreakers

(1) THE REFERENCE-SPANGLED BANNER. Artist Taral Wayne has updated his File 770 banner artwork to 2018, with the help of Sherman and Peabody, and the Wayback Machine.

(2) NOM DE CON. The “Phoenix Comicon Is Now Phoenix Comic Fest” reports Phoenix New Times. Although the conrunners declined to explicitly answer the question why, the reporter noted the change follows close on the heels of the San Diego Comic-Con’s victory in a lawsuit about its rights to the name “Comic-Con,” which is hinted at in a press release.

Square Egg Entertainment, the Phoenix-based company that runs the event, sent out a press release on Tuesday, January 2, announcing the rebranding.

And it hints at the possible reason behind the name change.

“In recent months, the use of the word Comic-Con, and its many forms, has become litigious. We would prefer to focus on creating the best events and experiences for our attendees. Therefore, effective immediately, our event held annually in Phoenix in the spring will be rebranded as Phoenix Comic Fest.”

(It isn’t the first time that the event has undergone a name change as it was previously known as “Phoenix Cactus Comicon” from 2002 to 2009.)

Meanwhile, a con in the state of Washington is waiting to see how the region’s larger Comic Cons respond to the court decision before changing its name – the Yakima Herald has the story: “Yakima group watches ‘Comic Con’ naming controversy play out”.

The annual Central City Comic Con in Yakima will hold off on a name change after one of the nation’s largest comic conventions successfully defended its right to the words “Comic Con.”

One of the staff for Yakima’s convention said organizers are waiting to see what other comic conventions in the area will do in response to San Diego Comic-Con’s successful lawsuit….

Yakima’s event attracts an average of 2,000 people a year, compared with the more than 130,000 who attended San Diego’s convention last year.

Burns said the Yakima event does not have a problem changing the name if it has to. She said the organizers are waiting to see whether the Emerald City Comic Con, scheduled for February in Seattle, and the Rose City Comic Con, which will take place in September in Portland, will change their names.

Rose City’s organizers announced on their website that the convention had reached an agreement with San Diego to use the Comic Con name at no charge.

(3) BEAUTIFUL IMAGES OF JUPITER. Via TIME Magazine, “See Jupiter Looking Downright Gorgeous in These New NASA Photos”.

NASA has shared brand new photos of Jupiter taken by the Juno spacecraft, showing the gas giant’s blue-tinged skies.

The Juno spacecraft takes batches of photos about every 53 days as it orbits Jupiter. NASA researchers uploaded the raw images online last month, prompting several people to process the photos into colorful views of Jupiter, including self-described citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

(4) LESSON FOR THE DAY. Chloe N. Clarke, in “HORROR 101: Violence in Horror, Part One”, tells Nerds of a Feather readers to distinguish between gore and violence:

A lot of times when I mention being a horror fan or horror writer, people say something about the violence in horror: “I can’t watch that stuff, it’s too gory” or “why would you want to write something violent.” Rarely do I want to go into pedantic scholar mode (except for my poor long-suffering students), so I usually just shrug. However, here in Horror 101, is exactly the place for me to get onto my horror scholar pedestal and say: good horror isn’t about the gory, or shocking acts of physical violence being depicted. Instead, it’s often about the true nature of violence which is the loss of agency.  So in this column, I’ll be talking about violence and agency in horror. Violence is a subject I plan to tackle from a few angles in terms of horror—while this is looking specifically at violence as loss of agency, later columns will address violence and women’s bodies in horror and other issues about the use of violence in the genre.

When we think of horror, we might think of the visceral moments that have stayed with us: the opening murder in Scream, for example, or the shark in Jaws taking off someone’s leg. Those moments stick with us because acts of physical violence cause such visceral emotional reactions: disgust, terror, an empathetic surge at the pain. However, beneath these physical moments of violence are the ones of the more subtle but insidious acts of violence.

(5) IN DEMAND. Breaking a record held by Captain America, “Black Panther had the biggest first day ticket presale of any Marvel movie” reports The Verge.

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is already set to have a huge debut at the box office in February. Fandango reports that the first 24 hours of ticket presales for the film were the largest it’s ever seen for a Marvel movie. The record was previously held by Captain America: Civil War, which was released in 2016.

(6) “COMIC-CON FOR WONKS”. The Washington Post’s David Betancourt, in “DC in D.C.: The stars of ‘Black Lightning’ and other DC projects are coming to Washington”, says that fans in the Washington area are going to get a lot of DC Comics panels in the next few weeks, including one with Black Lightning star Cress Williams.

The various worlds of DC Comics, from television to comics to animation, are coming to Washington for a first-of-its-kind event titled “DC in D.C.” — but it’s not just because the two names are the same.

The gathering will feature a who’s who of DC bigwigs participating in various panels, including television producer Greg Berlanti, DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, animation producer Bruce Timm and actors from the CW and Fox’s DC-inspired superhero television slate.

“DC in D.C.” will take place at multiple locations, including the Newseum and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Lisa Gregorian, the president and chief marketing officer of Warner Bros. Television Group, has been working on bringing DC to Washington over the past three years and says it will be “Comic-Con for wonks.”

(7) THYSSEN OBIT. Greta Thyssen, who appeared in minor sf movies and opposite the Three Stooges, has died at the age of 90. The Hollywood Reporter eulogy begins —

Greta Thyssen, the Danish beauty who doubled for Marilyn Monroe, dated Cary Grant and starred opposite The Three Stooges, has died. She was 90. Thyssen died Saturday night at her Manhattan apartment after a bout with pneumonia, her daughter, Genevieve Guenther, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Thyssen also starred in several “B” movies, including the horror pic Terror Is a Man (1959), a loose adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau. On a mystery island (it was filmed in the Philippines), the actress played the wife of a scientist (Francis Lederer) “tormented by unsatisfied desire, desperate to escape a loneliness and her fear,” according to the film’s trailer. Unfortunately, Thyssen’s character has more pressing issues to worry about, namely her husband’s creation — a half-man, half-panther beast. The movie incorporated a “warning bell” gimmick that would alert moviegoers when a particularly horrific sequence was about to take place so that they could hide their eyes. It would ring a second time when it was safe to look again.

Four of Thyssen’s other best-known performances came in the Joseph Kane noir Accused of Murder(1956); The Beast of Budapest (1958); Three Blondes in His Life (1961), opposite Jock Mahoney; and as an enticing pin-up beauty on Uranus in Journey to the Seventh Planet (1962), shot in her native Denmark….

(8) BAIKIE OBIT. Eisner Award-winning Scottish comic artist Jim Baikie died December 29. He was 77. Downthetubes paid tribute —

[He was] perhaps best known to many downthetubes readers as co-creator of 2000AD’s alien-on-the-run, Skizz. He enjoyed a career in comics that began with work for girls titles in the 1960s that would go on to encompass “Charlie’s Angels” and “Terrahawks” for Look-In, 2000AD and superhero work in the United States. He was also a much in demand artist beyond the comics medium.

…In 1991 when he was 51, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Initially the symptoms were mild enough that he could continue to work until 2004, after which his condition made it impossible to do so. He died peacefully from complications due to the disease.

…While perhaps best known perhaps for his work with Alan Moore on the 2000AD strip “Skizz”, as well as many memorable “Judge Dredd” strips, Jim had a long and varied career as an artist in comics. Born in 1940, he was inspired by comics from an early age, including Hogarth’s Tarzan and humour strips such as Gasoline Alley.

(9) RHODES OBIT. Donnelly Rhodes, most recently seen by fans as Agent Smith in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, died January 8. He was 80. Rhodes appeared in more than 160 films and TV series during the past 60 years.

His roles in genre TV shows included The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild, Wild West, The Starlost, Wonder Woman, Airwolf, Sliders, The X-Files, The Outer Limits reboot, The Dead Zone, Smallville, the Battlestar Galactica reboot, and Supernatural. He also appeared in several little-known genre films.

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 10, 1927 — Fritz Lang’s Metropolis premiered in his native Germany.
  • January 10, 1967 The Invaders television series debuted.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY SCARECROW

  • Born January 10, 1904 – Ray Bolger, whose Scarecrow wanted the Wizard of Oz to give him a brain.

(12) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian spotted an unusual parent-teacher conference in Bliss.

(13) DEMOCRAT IN NAME ONLY. A Filer made a typo and in the process discovered that last November someone with a few dollars to throw away amused themselves by purchasing the URL www.jondelarroz.com, and setting it to redirect to www.democrats.org. (JDA’s correct URL is www.delarroz.com.)

Full WHOIS Lookup

Domain Name: JONDELARROZ.COM
Registry Domain ID: 2182181215_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.dreamhost.com
Registrar URL: http://www.DreamHost.com
Updated Date: 2017-11-01T22:12:15Z
Creation Date: 2017-11-01T22:12:15Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2018-11-01T22:12:15Z
Registrar: DreamHost, LLC
Registrar IANA ID: 431
Registrar Abuse Contact Email:
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Name Server: NS1.DREAMHOST.COM
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DNSSEC: unsigned
URL of the ICANN Whois Inaccuracy Complaint Form: https://www.icann.org/wicf/
>>> Last update of whois database: 2017-11-03T00:16:42Z

(14) TALKING SHAT. The voice of William Shatner is the big selling point in publicity for Aliens Ate My Homework, for sale on DVD March 6. Here’s the actual story:

Based on Bruce Coville’s best-selling book series, this suspenseful family comedy follows the adventures of sixth-grader Rod Allbright and the extraterrestrial lawmen known as the Galactic Patrol. When a tiny spaceship flies through his window and lands on his science project, Rod and his cousin Elspeth meet a group of friendly aliens, including Phil, a talking plant (voiced by William Shatner). The earthlings quickly join the aliens’ adventurous mission to help defeat an evil alien criminal. After discovering the evil alien is disguised as a human – someone he knows all too well – Rod and Elspeth race to save the world from total planetary disaster.

 

(15) LIST OF FAVES. Dina at SFF Book Reviews details what she likes about “My Top 7 Books of 2017”

My Favorite Books Published in 2017

Katherine Arden – The Bear and the Nightingale

Without a doubt, my favorite book of last year (both published last year and older), this Russian-inspired fairy tale had so much atmosphere and told such a riveting story that it catapulted Katherine Arden onto my top author shelf immediately. Vasya is a fantastic heroine who – despite the slow loss of old beliefs – holds on to the old gods and tries to save her home, all by herself. The snowy landscape, the threat of true winter, the politics and magic and mythology all go so perfectly well together to make this book a perfect read for a cold day by a chimney (if you have one) or in front of a nice steaming cup of tea (if you don’t).

(16) 24. Joe Sherry has his eye on the future in an ambitious list of “24 Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2018” at Nerds of a Feather. He begins with this caveat:

As with any list, this is incomplete. Any number of stellar novels and collections have not been announced yet and will slot into place at some point this year. Some books on this list scheduled for later in the year may be pushed back into 2019 for any number of reasons. Some books are left off this list because they are the third or fourth book in a series I’ve never read. Some books are left off because they are not to my taste and thus, I’m not actually looking forward to them. Some books are left off this list because I haven’t heard of them yet, even though they’ve been announced. Some books are left off this list because, sadly, I completely forgot about it even though I’ve tried to do as much research as possible.

(17) YOLEN. At Locus Online, Gary K. Wolfe reviews The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen.

One of Jane Yolen’s abiding concerns in the hun­dreds of books she’s written or edited has been the ways in which stories and lives shape each other, so it’s not too surprising that her new collection The Emerald Circus begins and ends with actual historical figures, Hans Christian Andersen and Emily Dickinson. In between, we also briefly meet Edgar Allan Poe, Queen Victoria, Benjamin Disraeli, Alice Liddell as an old lady, and even Geoffrey of Monmouth. On the fictional side of the ledger, there are tales and characters drawn from Arthurian legends, J.M. Barrie, John Keats, L. Frank Baum, and O. Henry. What we do not see, with one or two exceptions, are stories that engage with traditional folk and fairy tales of the sort that underlie Briar Rose and stories like “Granny Rumple”.

(18) THROWING ROCKS. Steve Davidson revisits a Heinlein Hugo-winner in  “Retro Review: The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is a hard book to review. Like so many others from Heinlein’s later period, there are bits of it I enjoyed immensely and bits that made me want to throw the book across the room (and out the airlock). It is both a story of revolution – both bloody and bloodless – and a description of a very different society, forged by conditions that cannot be found on Earth. In short, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is several different things at once and they don’t always go together.

The background of the story is relatively simple. Luna – a society formed by convicts exiled from Earth – is being oppressed by the Warden and his Dragoons. The Moon is Earth’s main source of grain at this point (quite how that works isn’t clear) and the homeworld is unable or unwilling to realise that the Loonies have excellent reasons to be discontented, let alone make any concessions. Luna is ripe for revolution and just about everyone believes it is only a matter of time before all hell breaks loose.

(19) STIEFVATER REVIEWED. At Nerds of a Feather, Phoebe Wagner devotes a moment to the novel’s taxonomy before diving in — “Microreview [book]: All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater”

A note: Some readers might classify this novel as magical realism. When it comes to North American writers, prefer to use the term fabulism, even if it may not fully encompass the text.

Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints breaks from her usual fairytale folklore style as seen in her bestselling werewolf series Shiver and her acclaimed Raven Boys Cycle about ghosts, magic, ley lines, and more. When I picked up All the Crooked Saints with the excellent cover featuring roses and owls, I expected more of the same.

Instead, this novel opens on Colorado in 1962, describing the conflation of miracles and radio waves. Immediately, this novel felt separate from Stiefvater’s teen folklore oeuvre. Set in the high deserts of Colorado, the novel opens on a family of miracle workers, the Sorias. Three of the youngest are trying to establish a radio station out of a broken-down truck, but while they might be a family of miracle workers, the miracles are reserved for the pilgrims that visit the Sorias, not the Sorias themselves.

(20) IN THE MEDIA. Alex Acks covered the story for Bookriot “Author Banned From Attending WorldCon”.

Science fiction author Jon Del Arroz (known positively for his novel Rescue Run being nominated for the 2017 Best Military Science Fiction or Fantasy Novel category in the Dragon Awards) has been banned from San Jose WorldCon for making his intention to break the convention’s Code of Conduct loud and clear online. More specifically, for saying that he was going to be filming people against their will. He has been offered a refund by WorldCon, as has his wife, according to the convention.

I’m not surprised by this, considering that back on December 19, Mr. Del Arroz was talking publicly about joining SFWA and wearing a body cam into the SFWA suite at the convention. Considering Mr. Del Arroz’s history of harassing SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) members including Cat Rambo, Sharon Lee, and Irene Gallo, this wasn’t met with a lot of joy. A. Merc Rustad has a great Twitter thread that basically summarizes that issue. (Also it should be noted that the harassment extends beyond SFWA members to others in SF literary fandom.)

(21) MORE SHOPPING WHILE INTOXICATED. Cherie Priest answers the pivotal question —

(22) ON A FROZEN PLANET. I got a kick out of this Scalzi retweet – a sci-fi response to his first tweet:

(23) GODZILLA. This trailer for the animated Godzilla series from Netflix touts “Humankind vs. The Largest Godzilla Ever.”

(24) KRYPTON. The first trailer for Syfy’s series Krypton has been posted.

From David S. Goyer, the writer of Man of Steel and The Dark Knight, comes a new story that will change a legend and forge a destiny. Krypton Premieres March 21 on SYFY.

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Nancy Sauer.]

Fortieth Anniversary of File 770

It was 40 years ago today
Sgt. Saturn taught the band to play…

Okay, never mind the rest of that… but on January 6, 1978 File 770 began life as a paperzine with issue #1.

Several friends have been along for the entire ride, like artist Taral Wayne, who had an illo in the first paper issue, and also is the creator of the banner art for this blog. Or Steve Davidson, mentioned in a news item on page 2. Not to mention the many who were on the mailing list from the beginning.

I also want to thank Linda Bushyager, editor of Karass, which preceded File 770 as fandom’s newzine of record, for passing the baton those many years ago.

And thanks to the generosity of everyone who has shared their stories, events and concerns in these pages over the years.

We’ll be celebrating this anniversary — and the 10th anniversary of this blog on January 15 — over the next 10 days with a series of special guest posts, too. Watch for the logo!

Pixel Scroll 1/29/16 Purple Pixel Eater

(1) IMMEDIATE FEEDBACK. CBC reports a Twitter uproar ensued after a Marvel exec made a big contribution during the broadcast of a Trump charity event.

‘Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump announced at a fundraiser Thursday night that Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter would donate $1 million US to his charitable foundation, and comic book fans took to Twitter in reaction.’

Taral, who knows how fans think, says, “I can imagine a lot of Marvel readers and viewers being horrified and contemplating a boycott for almost 3/10s of a second before lining up to see Antman for the fourth time.”

(2) A DIFFERENT GIVING OPPORTUNITY. George Takei is the draw in a new Omaze donation drive — “Charity Share: Inspire Change Broadway”

Oh myyy! Social media aficionado and former helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, George Takei is offering one lucky Omaze winner the opportunity to “Takei over NYC” with him. Just $10 gets you the chance to have a private dinner with George, sit VIP at his Broadway musical Allegiance, and go inside the stage door to meet the cast! And it all supports Inspire Change Broadway.

Launched in 2009, Inspire Change Broadway provides communities across the tri-state area with subsidized tickets and round-trip transportation to Broadway productions….

…Thanks to donors from around the world and Inspire Change Broadway, 10,000 students who may have been unable to afford tickets got to experience the Tony Award-winning musical Memphis.

Now the foundation hopes to do the same for Allegiance, which is set during the period of Japanese-American internment in World War II and inspired by events from George Takei’s own childhood experience. Learn more here! 

(3) ANIMATED JUSTICE LEAGUE. DC’s Justice League will return to the Cartoon Network in 2017, with fan favorites providing some of the voices.

Well, DC’s top superteam is returning to TV in the upcoming Justice League Action. The new series will star DC’s classic triad of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman along with rotating guest stars and its episodes will be 11 minutes long, similar to Teen Titans GO! Speaking of which, Justice League Action will be executive produced by Sam Register, who also producers Teen Titans GO!

…it’s set to feature the return of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. Conroy and Hamill put their indelible stamps on Batman and The Joker in the original Batman: The Animated Series, but they’ve been phased out in recent years…. Both of them returning is a real treat for longtime fans of Warner Bros. Animation’s superhero cartoons. The show will also feature James Woods as Lex Luthor.

(4) THIS JOB AIN’T THAT EFFIN’ EASY! Fansided’s Leah Tedesco, who writes for Doctor Who Watch, tells what it’s like to face the forbidding temporal desert of a show’s hiatus in “Doctor Who: On Writing for a Fan Site”.

When you write for a fan site of a television program, the off season can be a particularly tricky period. Oh, there is a trickle of news, but the big stories are few and far between. Until Doctor Who returns with the 2016 Christmas special, we at Doctor Who Watch have been tasked with the challenging endeavor of continuing to generate at least the minimum number of articles each month for almost an entire new-episodeless year. I imagine that madness will soon ensue… well, more madness than is already involved.

(5) CAREER COUNSELING. At Black Gate, Violette Malan’s “You May Be A Writer” begins with a humorous hook —

Do you enjoy planning? When you want to give a party, do you start making lists? Thinking about the menu? Who to invite? When there’s a trip coming up, are there lists? Are you usually the first one packed? Or have you at least given considerable thought to your packing?

Is organizing an event almost more fun than the event itself? Then you may be a writer.

Do you think planning’s for squares? Do you decide at 6:00 pm to have a party and let people know via Twitter? Are you rushing through the airport at the last minute with your passport in one hand and a pair of (mismatched) socks in the other?

Are you all about the spontaneity? Seizing the moment? Then you may be a writer.

Of course, what I’m talking about here is process: every writer has one, and it’s likely to be different from yours, or mine.

(6) EXPANSEAPALOOZA. “’The Expanse’ Authors Talk Space Epic Size and Crazy Sci-Fi Tech” at Space.com.

Space.com: What’s the coolest technology you have developed for the series?

Franck: In the book series, when we were coming up with the visuals for the ships and stuff, I was talking to a guy I know who works out of Los Alamos Labs. I was talking to him about the fact that the primary weapon on our ships is railguns — those big, electromagnetically fired weapons. And he said you can extend the length of a railgun barrel [by blowing] this plasma out, and you run electricity through the plasma.

“Turning a Sci-Fi Series into a TV Epic: Q&A with ‘The Expanse’ Authors”, from Space.com.

Space.com: I’ve read that the initial concept for the books was actually a video game. Is that right?

Ty Franck: The fleshed-out version of the idea started out as that. I’d had the idea before that, but when a friend of mine asked me to help her come up with a pitch for a video game is when I really sat down and put more flesh on the bones of this idea that I had. It existed before that, but it was sort of nebulous. The video game thing is what really kind of solidified it.

But as soon as they realized how expensive making an MMO [massively multiplayer online game] was, they sort of backed away quietly.

Space.com: What happened to the story next?

Franck: It went from a video game to a pen-and-paper RPG [role-playing game] setting because I wanted to keep playing around with it. And then Daniel did the rest.

Daniel Abraham: I was in Ty’s tabletop game, and I saw the amount of work that he’d done with the background and world building. And I’d written probably six or seven novels at that point, so my pitch was, “Look, you’ve already done all the hard work; let’s just write it down, and it’ll be a book.”

(7) RAFTERY OBIT. SF Site News reports British filker Joe Raftery died January 29.

Raftery debuted his first filk song at the 1979 Worldcon in Brighton before gafiating until 2000, when he attended FilkContinental. Following his reintroduction to fandom, Raftery became a regular at filk meet ups and was nominated for the Pegasus Award in 2007 for his role in the n’Early Music Consort.

Farah Mendelsohn credited his behind the scenes design work on Loncon3’s Exhibit Hall with enhancing accessibility:

If our accessibility was so good, it’s because Joe designed the corridors, the seating areas, the shapes of booths and the spaces between boards. We couldn’t have managed the intricacies of the exhibits without him.

He is survived by his wife Gwen Knighton Rafter and his children Anna Raftery and Emily January.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven was published.

(9) SPEAKER TO GENIUSES. Today Mad Genius Club featured “Hugo History – A Guest Post by Ben Yalow”. It’s fascinating to watch an accomplished fanpolitician at work, but — Why is Yalow working the Mad Genius Club? And he makes an interesting choice to discuss Hugo history as something “we” did — will MGC regulars feel included or excluded? Consider the way Yalow phrased the rules changes that produced the semiprozine category.

When it became clear that, during the late 70s, we had three fanzines whose circulation was many thousands, while most fanzines were having circulations in the low hundreds (when you’re printing and mailing physical fanzines, and generally they were available for free, there were real limits on circulation, depending on people’s budgets), we split out semiprozines, just to get them out of the fanzine category. And we tweaked the rules somewhat, so that there were more contenders than just the three that we moved out of fanzine; if it were only that, then semiprozine wouldn’t be a viable category. We were starting to see the beginnings of small run fiction magazines, and serious academic small circulation magazines, and the semiprozine rules put those into the new category, so it was a category offering reasonable choices.

(10) HAD ME GOING. It turns out Sigrid Ellis’ “Best Brussel Sprouts” post is a recipe, not an idea for a new Hugo category.

Okay, these are not the BEST Brussel sprouts. I am pretty sure the BEST ones are cooked with bacon. But these are pretty good.

(11) MORE RECOMMENDATIONS. Nerds of a Feather continues its recommendations in “2016 Hugo Longlist, Part 4: Nonfiction and Institutional Categories”.

This time we are looking at what are, for lack of a better term, the “nonfiction and institutional categories”: Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine and Best Fancast. Now, those who follow this blog know how cranky I can get on the subject of certain categories and their bizarre eligibility guidelines–and we’ve got two of them today (Best Semiprozine and Best Fancast). Nevertheless, I will do my best to stay calm and stick to the rules, frustrating as they can be. I reserve the right, will, however, get a little snarky and passive-aggressive in the process.

(12) ANOTHER ELIGIBILITY POST ADVOCATE. Abigail Nussbaum has a few thoughts about the opening of the 2016 Hugo nominations.

The announcement that Hugo nominations are open (as well as the nominating periods for several other awards, such as the BSFA and the Nebula) is usually accompanied by authors putting up “award eligibility posts,” followed by a discussion of whether this is a good thing or whether it makes the entire process into a PR effort.  I’ve already said my piece on this subject, so at the present I’ll just repeat what feels to me like the most important point from that essay, which is that my problem with award eligibility posts is less that they’re crass and commercialized, and more that for their stated purpose, they are utterly useless.  I don’t want to trawl through an author’s blog history to find the list of works they published last year.  What I want is a bibliography–easily found, up-to-date, and ideally sorted by publication date and containing links to works that are available online or for purchase as ebooks.  If you haven’t got one of those on your website, I have to question how seriously you want my vote.

(13) THAT MAKES EVERYTHING OKAY. Antonelli reminds himself (and the internet) that John Clute said nice things about his writing.

After spending most of 2015 – the period from April 4 until August 22 – being told I was an worthless hack writer and overall loser by the s-f literary establishment because I was a Sad Puppy nominee for the Hugo awards, I sometimes go and read my entry in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia by John Clute to remind myself I sometimes rise to the level of occasional competency:…

(14) MASSIVE MULTI-LAWYER ROLEPLAYING. Motherboard explains how “Sony’s Greedy Attempt to Trademark ‘Let’s Play’ Was Shot Down”.

Gaming is a hugely popular category for video content on the internet. It’s why Amazon acquired the video game streaming platform Twitch for $1 billion, and why the most famous creator of “Let’s Play” videos Pewdiepie has the most popular channel on YouTube with 41 million subscribers. Basically, if Sony managed to register this “Let’s Play” trademark, the company would be in a good position to sue any YouTuber or Twitch streamer who used the term to promote their videos, even though the term has been commonly used in the gaming community for roughly a decade.

The USPTO said it would likely reject Sony’s application in its initial form, but gave Sony six months to address its concerns, namely that Sony’s application is too similar to an existing trademark called “LP Let’z Play.”

(15) SAVORY TWEETS. The connoisseurs at Fantasy Faction bring you “The Top 15 Tweets & Top 7 Blog Posts of Robert Jackson Bennett”.

The Twitter-feed of Robert Jackson Bennett is a wondrous, but dangerous place to spend time. If you follow Robert in addition to another 1000 or so people, the normality and reason of the masses will likely dilute the strangeness and zaniness of Robert’s feed to the extent there will be no lasting damage or changes in personality from what you consume. If you spend time looking through Robert’s Tweets on a Tweet-by-Tweet basis though, as I was asked to do by Jo Fletcher Books for this feature, there may be some lasting damage…

Here is their comment about Bennett’s 2009 blog post “Finished.”

Link: http://robertjacksonbennett.com/blog/finished

I love this blog post because, as someone who writes, it is a reminder that not everything you write is publishable or even good; in fact, ‘80% of your output will be unacceptable shit, even if you polish it.’ I’ve spoken before about my thoughts that too many novelists of 2016 are too quick to use Amazon direct publishing as an alternative to admitting their work isn’t ready to be published and that they need more practice. Robert’s ability to take the good and learn from it combined with a willingness to ‘toss the rest and start all over again’ is undoubtedly the reason his books have gotten better and better.

It’s interesting to note the book The Long Wake of which Robert says ‘I like it. I really like it a lot.’ has not been published yet (i.e. it became another, unexpected, learning experience). You can read about that here and here.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Andrew Porter and Steven H Silver for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

File 770 #165 Available

Another New Year’s Eve tradition — ring out the year with the fanzine version of File 770.

Click here — File 770 #165, [5MB PDF file]

With a cover by Steve Stiles, the issue features these original articles:

  • One Month a Grand Master by Larry Niven and John Hertz
  • The Rotsler Winners: Personal Musings by Taral Wayne
  • John Hertz’s Westercon Notebook, a report of the 2014 convention
  • Red Letter Days, Taral Wayne muses about the calendar

Plus reprints of three popular articles:

  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E by James H. Burns
  • My Father, And The Brontosaurus by James H. Burns
  • Viewing The Remains of Bradbury’s House by John King Tarpinian

Ditto – It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

When R. Graeme Cameron announced the rebirth of Ditto, which he unilaterally decided to host in conjunction with next year’s VCON, he was greeted with the equivalent of “Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute!”

Cameron had thought the convention name was abandoned, because the last Ditto, a convention for fanzine fans, was staged in 2007. (It was combined with Art Widner’s 90th birthday party and held in his hometown, Guajala, CA. See Hope Leibowitz’ conreport in File 770 #151.)

But when Cameron shared his plans in a public Facebook forum, the Society for the Perpetuation of Fannish Fandom, a past Ditto chair claimed the right to help determine where the next one would be, and implied another party has been mulling over plans of their own to revive the con, therefore Cameron’s announcement was out of order.

Cameron has now fashioned a compromise – he has dropped his 2016 idea in favor of a plan to hold a Ditto in Vancouver in 2017.

As an aside, looks like there will be an additional bid to hold a Ditto in 2016. After much exchange of communication, by mutual agreement I have withdrawn my bid to hold Ditto in conjunction with VCON 41 in 2016 (I’m going to be darn busy chairing the latter), and will instead hold a 2017 Ditto probably on the long weekend in October (Oct 6-8 2017). This will be a stand-alone relaxacon version (the traditional version) following VCON 42 the weekend before.

Given the VCON focus on multiple interests within fandom (tending to exclude fanzine fandom which very few locals are interested in), and the Ditto focus on fanzine fandom, I strongly suspect there will little in the way of conflicting demand. Mind you, any fen interested in both are welcome to fly into Vancouver for VCON the first weekend, tour B.C. for the week, attend Ditto the second weekend, and then fly out. Although I must admit I can’t think of any of the old guard who can afford to do this.

So Ditto has suddenly gone from limbo to being the subject of a dual revival.

Cameron has published the first progress report for his 2017 event – The Ditto Master #1.

Taral Wayne helped found Ditto in 1988 and he says: “I approve of anyone who brings the con back to life, whoever that may be. I’m pleased to say that of the other members of the original Ditto team who I’ve been able to speak to, they are pleased to see the con back on its feet as well. We’re all rooting for the 2016 team … whoever that turns out to be.”

The Zine Artists Online Museum

saarahonourrole36Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.

Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.

Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —

Taral Wayne forestalls the obvious question —

The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.

Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:

Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything.  No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine.  Fan editors could  manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient.  It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way.  Colour became almost mandatory.   Photographs were a breeze.  Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document.  You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted.  In effect, fanartists became redundant.

The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!

Pixel Scroll 10/8 The Legend of Slatestroke

(1) Just finished Ancillary Mercy tonight. What a cast of characters!

“Ohg, lbh xabj, lbh’er nyy bhg bs svfu fnhpr. Naq V qba’g guvax V’ir rire frra n jne orsber!”

“V’z tbvat gbb,” fnvq Fcurar.

“Rkpryyrag!” ercyvrq Genafyngbe Mrvng. “V’yy tb cnpx.”

(2) The ultra-premium all-access pass to the Salt Lake Comic Con is pricey, but not as much as the cost of getting indicted for trying to scam your way into its VIP area.

A federal grand jury has indicted a Layton man, accusing him of impersonating a federal agent to get VIP access to Salt Lake Comic Con.

The indictment, handed down late Wednesday, accuses Jonathan M. Wall, 29, of pretending to be a Special Agent of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah said Wall then demanded Salt Lake Comic Con allow him in “under the ruse that he was entering the VIP area to apprehend a wanted fugitive.”

Wall attracted the attention of a retired Salt Lake City police officer who was providing security for the event, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The officer questioned Wall and notified the Air Force, who also came to question him.

Wall is charged in the indictment with impersonation of a federal officer and making a false statement to a federal agent. If convicted, he faces a combined seven years in prison and a potential $250,000 fine for each count. Wall has not been arrested, but a summons will be issued for him to appear in federal court, prosecutors said.

Incidentally, the indictment reveals that the “false statement” he made was lying about asking for ONE pass when he actually asked for TWO!

(3) And to think no one will be indicted for telling the even bigger whopper that there are people who think The Martian is a true story.

(4) It’s a Big Idea, but it’s also a great news story – how did Ctein and bestselling detective novelist John Sandford wind up collaborating on an sf book, Saturn Run?

That Big Idea led to a Big Problem. How the hell do you get a ship to Saturn in under six months, not to mention building it in under two years? No “wantum mechanics” (Greg Benford’s wonderful term for totally-made-up science shit); it’s not much of a hard bolts-and-rivets thriller if people know you’re faking it. It wasn’t an unsolvable problem. John could research it. In his former life he was a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and has written forty or so thrillers, so he knows research. It’d just take several years of his life to get himself fully up to speed, that’s all.

The hitch was, John’s steady gig is turning out two novels (plus change) each year like clockwork. His readers expect it. He can’t take off a couple of years to explore himself as an author. This led to John’s second Big Idea, the crazy one.

Why not write it jointly with his friend, me?

Ctein includes an entertaining version of his phone call when Sandford talked him into collaborating.

Saturn Run cover

(5) Joe Tonelli on Digg advises about “The Best (And Worst) Movies To Watch On Paramount’s New YouTube Channel”.

Trigger Warning: Splash page has a big movie poster image that looks like Dolph Lundgren auditioning for the role of Aatr’s tits….

Mark no-last-name says, “For some reason the reviewer needs no less than 3 choices for worst SF movie. I can’t argue with him about Masters of the Universe though, even at a young age I could tell how badly that movie stank.”

One of the free sf films in the Paramount Vault is Conquest of Space , which is somewhat hideous despite being based on Willy Ley’s classic book with illustrations by Chesley Bonestell.

(6) SF Site News reports artifacts from the collection of Ray Harryhausen will go up for auction on October 17.

Harryhausen was known for his work in stop-motion animation and worked on films such as Clash of the Titans, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and Jason and the Argonauts. Auction items include models, paintings, and cameras, many of the objects autographed by Harryhausen.

There are loads of photos of the items at Dangerous Minds.

(7) Congratulations to Taral Wayne for placing his William Hope Hodgson tribute “The Canaries in the Dark” in the second volume of The Yellow Book from Oldstyle Press. There’s no pay, he says. However, I was one of the people that recommended he try it on a fiction market instead of settling for a fanzine appearance, so I say well done.

(8) In “Stephen Hawking answers July questions on Reddit AMA” we are reminded about a truth we already know – these memories are indelible for the fan, not the celebrity.

He responded to just nine questions, taking time to answer one from a Canadian poster who said he’d seen Hawking in 1995 as a boy at a video rental store in Cambridge, England, where Hawking lives. The poster asked if Hawking remembered watching “Wayne’s World 2” on a store monitor while parked for about 5 minutes next to two kids. He answered simply, “No.”

(9) The “Stunning New Mockingjay Part 2 Poster Comes Loaded With Hidden Secrets”.

Non-book readers might want to look away now while we break down the hidden context of the new one sheet.

According to Wired who debuted the poster yesterday, the image serves a dual purpose as a propaganda poster for the District 13 rebellion in the movie, as well as promoting the IMAX release of the film which is actually coming to the UK a day early on 19 November.

(10) A one-minute video about “Guillermo del Toro’s House of Horrors” accompanies the New York Times article.

The director of fantasy and horror films keeps his collection of books, gory props and mannequins where he can see, and be inspired by, them.

The door swings open and there, surrounded by blood-red walls, is a hellhound with four hooded eyes and gaping fangs. The head of Frankenstein’s monster floats, disembodied and huge, a story above it. Peering at you from the living room, his fingers paging through a book, is the early-20th-century horror novelist H.­P. Lovecraft. On a Victorian sofa, a demented doll stares down a bronze gargantua, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie.

Welcome to Guillermo del Toro’s imagination.

Bleak House is what Mr. del Toro, the Mexican filmmaker known for the terrifying fantasy of “Pan’s Labyrinth” and American action-horror series like “Hellboy,” christened this pad, which serves as repository and inspiration. He writes there, and when he is in production, a handful of designers work in the repurposed garage. “We draw, draw, draw,” he said, every frame as detailed as animation.

(11) Here’s a candidate for the most expensive toy of the coming Christmas season — Disney’s $120 attempt to make your kid feel like Iron Man.

iron man gauntlet COMPThe starter pack for Disney’s first line of Playmation toys, based on the Avengers, costs $119.99, and requires 12 AA batteries. The main toy is the Iron Man arm gauntlet, but you’ll also get two action figures and electronic bases for them to stand on while they interact with you.

Skeptic John King Tarpinian thinks, “With twelve batteries the kid could not lift his arm.”

(12) And toys for the grown-ups include HP’s Star Wars- inspired laptop and Stream notebooks.

HP has today in Barcelona announced a number of new devices, including the George Lucas-honouring Star Wars inspired Special Edition Notebook.

While we aren’t exactly short of Star Wars products popping up prior to the big movie release, HP does win our “coolest new laptop of the year award” hands down. And only Star Trek fans will probably disagree.

Featuring a “battle worn” finish which is supposed to remind you of how crummy the Death Star is, the Special Edition is also embellished with Aurebesh typeface. Even the touch pad “mirrors the X-Wing Star Fighter Guidance System” while the keyboard features red backlit keys.

(13) There were quite a few Equicons over the years. The first four, 1971-1974, were run by Bjo Trimble in Los Angeles.

Here is some celebrity footage from Equicon in 1974. George Takei, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry, Arlene Martel, Mike Farrell, Robert Foxworth, Larry Vincent, D. C. Fontana, Kirk Alyn, David Gerrold, George Clayton Johnson, and Bjo Trimble.

Mike Farrell and Robert Foxworth are in the Equicon assemblage, because they had just starred in the Roddenberry pilot, The Questor Tapes.

The members of S.T.A.R. San Diego ran Equicon 75 at the El Cortez Hotel, with most of the Star Trek cast attending as guests. The “Captain” in the TV ad is now-famous science fiction author Greg Bear.

[Thanks to Dave Doering, Will R., James H. Burns, John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R.]

2015 Faned Winners

Certificate art by Taral Wayne.

Certificate art by Taral Wayne.

At VCON 40 last weekend, R. Graeme Cameron announced the 2015 Faned winners (for 2014 fanac).

BEST FAN ARTIST

Winner: Taral Wayne

1st runner-up = Jean-Pierre Normand

2nd runner-up = Teddy Harvia

BEST FAN WRITER  

Winner: Dale Speirs

1st runner-up = R. Graeme Cameron

2nd runner-up = Felicity Walker

BEST LOC WRITER

Winner: Lloyd Penney

1st runner-up = Sheryl Birkhead

2nd runner-up = Murray Moore

BEST CANADIAN FANZINE

Winner: BCSFAzine

1st Runner-up = Space Cadet

2nd runner-up = Opuntia

HALL OF FAME

Joseph ‘Beak’ Taylor — Eight-Ball/Canadian Fandom.

The Graeme adds:

I’ll be sending out PDFs of the certificate soon (so winners can print their own choice of paper), but I’ll also send them a high quality paper/print version as soon as I can arrange it.

Also, looks like there will finally be trophies to hand out to all the winners past and present sometime in late spring. A very talented local artist name of Russ Quick believes he can accomplish this easily and inexpensively once certain other projects of his are out of the way. The 7-inch-tall Faneds will be molded in resin, and come in a variety of colours including clear with sparkly bits or maybe a metallic sheen. ach winner will receive a trophy for their initial win, and then little inscribed plaques to add to the base as the years and victories roll by.

Vote for the Faned Awards

Sample Faned Awards certificate by Taral Wayne.

Example of 2011 Faned Awards certificate by Taral Wayne.

Voting in the fifth annual Faned Awards is open until September 28, 2015.

Created by R. Graeme Cameron, the award recognizes excellence in Canadian fanzines – no matter where the contributor is from.

  • Anyone of any nationality who contributed to Canadian Fanzines is eligible.
  • Anyone of any nationality who reads Canadian SFF&F Fanzines may vote.

There are five categories: Best Artist, Best Writer, Best Letter of Comment Writer, Best Canadian Fanzine (which are voted on by readers) and Hall of Fame (which is juried).

Winners receive a certificate illustrated by Taral Wayne and, eventually, once an inexpensive method of reproduction is established, a magnificent “Faned” sculpture designed by Eric Chu and sculpted by Lawrence Prime.

Says the Graeme —

In an era when science fiction fandom has gone mainstream (a good thing by the way) the “Faneds” remain devoted to celebrating traditional science fiction fanzine fandom (also a good thing) in Canada (in terms of publications) and throughout the world (in terms of contributors).

Past issues of the award newsletter, The Fanactical Fanactivist, can be found at eFanzines.

Voting is done manually – mark the eligibility list below and e-mail the text to Cameron at — rgraeme(at)shaw.ca

Instructions and eligibility list follows the jump.

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