Bonnie McDaniel says, “Here’s a picture of Sweetie next to my WorldCon progress report.”
Photos of other felines resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
Details about the Hugos and Retro-Hugos are in Article 3 of the World Science Fiction Society Constitution, printed in Progress Report 2.0, which you can find here. The Retro-Hugo ballot is here. It says who is eligible to nominate. Nominations must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Friday March 16, 2018.
There was lots of good work in 1942.
You may have already found helps like Isaac Asimov’s 1980 anthology (novellas, novelettes, short stories), Vincent Di Fate’s 1997 anthology of visual art with commentary and color reproductions (there’s a review by me on the sidebar), Harry Warner’s history of s-f fandom in the 1940s (see the 2004 revision), and the images of 1942 fan-published material which have just recently been produced by volunteers and made available electronically.
Of course these things are neither complete nor conclusive. Let me add that even if you’re so knowledgeable you could have written them better yourself (hello, Joe, it’s good of you to drop by and read this), they’re worth looking at.
I’ve been struck by the 1942 Wallace Stevens poem “Connoisseur of Chaos”. In fact I’ve nominated it. That’s somewhat strange (as you might expect of me). It’s less than 500 words. I think it’s a wonder. But is it a story? Is it a Related Work? Is it – better I shouldn’t ask the next question; but Theodore Sturgeon (“always ‘Theodore’ in print, please”) in a really excellent pun said “Science fiction is knowledge fiction.”
After all the pretty contrast of life and death
Proves that these opposite things partake of one,
At least that was the theory, when bishops’ books
Resolved the world. We cannot go back to that.
The squirming facts exceed the squamous mind,
If one may say so. And yet relation appears,
A small relation expanding like the shade
Of a cloud on sand, a shape on the side of a hill.
Brother Stevens, I couldn’t have written it better myself.
(1) PITCH IN. John Picacio calls for donations to help Mexicanx Initiative attendees afford travel to Worldcon 76.
While the initial Membership Fund is essentially “mission accomplished” because we fully funded 50 Attending Memberships, the Assistance Fund has been accepting separate monies since January, for helping Recipients with their travel, hotel and food needs because so many face an expensive, sometimes complex, journey. I’ve been doing that without going public, but as of today — anyone can give to The Fund, encouraging diversity and inclusion toward a stronger, more balanced sf/f field.
And here’s where you make it happen:
Your money will go directly to Worldcon’s Treasury. They will allocate it toward The Assistance Fund (different from the already-completed Sponsored Membership Fund). How will the Assistance Fund money be distributed to the Recipients? Every dollar will be given to the Recipients via Worldcon 76’s Registration Team at the convention in August, and will be distributed in equal portions. I suspect our south-of-the-border Mexicanx will receive the bulk of the funds, divided evenly amongst them. The north-of-the-border Mexicanx will receive the remainder, again divided evenly amongst them. No Assistance grants will be distributed until funding is completed, but 100% will go to our Membership Recipients at Worldcon 76.
This way, all will receive a share of assistance, but the south-of-the-border attendees will receive more than the north, which is what I want. In the coming weeks, I hope we can generate at least $15,000 to help these folks make their Worldcon dream come true, and from what I’m hearing, we already have $6000 toward that figure.
Make donations through Worldcon 76’s “Mexicanx Initiative Assistance Fund”.
This fund is to assist members sponsored via Guest of Honor John Picacio’s Mexicanx Initiative to cover their travel and lodging expenses. Worldcon 76 and SFSFC are managing this fund independently of the main Worldcon 76 budget as directed by Mr. Picacio.
(2) MARKET INFO. Parvus Press’ focused submission call for writers of color and indigenous persons — “Open Call: Writers of Color” continues until April 30, 2018 at midnight US Eastern Time. Managing editor John Adamus says:
Everyone should have a chance to see themselves in art, and not as caricature or as some demonized trope solely in the story to make some other character look better. Authorial voice and truth are what make stories passionate and dynamic expressions of the personal and the creative, and no one should ever feel like their voice and truth somehow aren’t worth making known.
I think one of the great creative crimes that we’re now really starting to prominently see reversed is the silencing and minimizing of authors and creators who aren’t the majority or who don’t identify along majority lines. All stories have the potential to affect and move other people, but only if they’re given equal space on shelves and in minds and hearts.
It is so important to me that Parvus Press be a place where the minority author find opportunity and that their voice and story not be relegated to the side or the back because of biases or differences. I’m proud to be able to work with all authors and see them succeed, no matter who they are or how they identify. Representation matters.
(3) HOPPER’S GENRE WORK. You recognize Nighthawks, but what came before that? Not sff, but what the heck. LitHub tells about “The Unlikely Pulp Fiction Illustrations of Edward Hopper”.
In the winter of 1956, Alexander Eliot, art critic for Time magazine, interviewed Edward Hopper for a cover feature on the painter’s roundabout path to fame. Intended to familiarize general audiences with the man behind classic paintings like Nighthawks and Early Sunday Morning, the resultant profile reads today like a paean to an American master. Eliot was taken with Hopper’s “unalterable reserve.” Presenting the artist as a frugal and unsentimental old man who often conflated self-effacement and self-flagellation, he painted his own portrait of a folksy messiah—a humble savant capable of rescuing American realism from a clique of “clattering egos.”
Given this messianic tilt, it’s not surprising that as Eliot broached Hopper’s early days as a commercial artist, he referred to the period as his “time in the desert.”
… Between March 1916 and March 1919, Hopper illustrated five issues for the publication. In these magazines, the famed realist—a man whose plaintive portraits and landscapes now sell for tens of millions of dollars—drew heading art for stories like “The Sourdough Twins’ Last Clean-Up,” “Snuffy and the Monster,” and “A Fish Story About Love.” Hopper enlivened these stories with images that ranged from amusing to maudlin. One illustration, perched above Holda Sears’ “The Finish,” shows an explorer in a life-and-death struggle with a man-sized python. Another, atop Hapsburg Liebe’s “Alias John Doe,” depicts two cowboys “tabletopping” a patsy—one of his subjects kneeling behind their victim while the other topples him over. Additional pictures portray rampaging apes, spear-wielding natives, and pioneers wearing coonskin caps.
(4) BURTON READS BRADBURY. Phil Nicols’ Bradburymedia naturally was first to spot “LeVar Burton Reads… Bradbury”.
LeVar Burton – Emmy and Grammy Award-Winning actor-director, and star of Star Trek – has a weekly podcast where he reads selected short stories. Think of it as PBS’ Reading Rainbow for adults! The most recent episode is a full reading of Ray Bradbury’s “The Great Wide World Over There”.
The production values are high in this series. Not just a straight reading of the story, the episode includes subtle sound effects and almost subliminal music cues. Burton performs each character distinctly – and the sound design separates the characters out from the narration, so that it almost sounds like a full cast dramatisation, but the cast is just LeVar alone.
(5) COMICS SECTION.
(6) GAME OF BREW. Ommegang Brewing has announced the final one of their Game of Thrones beers, Bend the Knee, which is coming out on Memorial Day with three different labels, so you can choose whether you want the Stark, Targaryen, or Lannister versions.
This is a beer that’s nine percent alcohol by volume, which is a lot! So it leads to a new definition of binge-watching: while you’re at home watching the show, you can binge AND watch at the same time!
(7) AND A SHIRT TO STEER ME BY. There can’t be many things left on his bucket list. This is one: “William Shatner Wants to Play a Red Shirt on ‘Star Trek'”.
Star Trek icon William Shatner has a surprising role on the top of his list of Star Trek characters he’d like to play who are not James T. Kirk.
I guess it technically doesn’t count that he died in a Trek movie wearing a red vest.
(8) CSI: FOREST. Unlike redshirts, red squirrels are the survivors in this forest: “Red squirrel numbers boosted by predator”.
This is according to scientists at the University of Aberdeen, who carried out an in-depth forensic study of the relationship between the three species.
The pine marten is a predator of the reds, but in areas where it thrives, the number of grey squirrels reduces.
…The journal study suggests that the pine martens reverse the “typical relationship” between red and grey squirrels, where the red always loses out, according to lead researcher Dr Emma Sheehy.
“Where pine marten activity is high, grey squirrel populations are actually heavily suppressed. And that gives the competitive advantage to red squirrels,” she said.
“So you see lots of red squirrels and you see them coming back into areas where they hadn’t been for quite some time.”
…Pine martens – cat-sized members of the weasel family – are gradually becoming re-established in parts of Scotland, after their near extinction in the UK.
They used to be trapped in large numbers by game-keepers, and also hunted for their fur, which was a valuable export from Scotland.
It is has been illegal to hunt the animals since the 1980s, and their numbers are now increasing.
(9) A BETTER SCARECROW. This should have been an entry on Shark Tank: “‘Super Monster Wolf’ a success in Japan farming trials”.
A robot wolf designed to protect farms has proved to be such a success in trials that it is going into mass production next month.
The “Super Monster Wolf” is a 65cm-long, 50cm-tall robot animal covered with realistic-looking fur, featuring huge white fangs and flashing red eyes, Asahi Television reports.
It’s been designed to keep wild boar away from rice and chestnut crops, and was deployed on a trial basis near Kisarazu City in Japan’s eastern Chiba prefecture last July.
When it detects an approaching animal, its eyes light up and it starts to howl, Asahi TV says.
(10) ROBERT MOORE WILLIAMS. Galactic Journey reviews an Ace Double issued 55 years ago — “[March 6, 1963] Generation Gap (Ace Double F-177)”. The Traveler wasn’t impressed with Robert Moore Williams’ side of the volume:
Robert Moore Williams was first published in the pre-Campbell days of Analog. He has since written more than a hundred stories for a variety of magazines, but his DNA was baked in the Golden Age of science fiction. The future world of The Star Wasps is an archaic, mechanistic one. Society simplistically hinges on the activities of a half-dozen people. There is a Resilient Woman Character whose primary role is to be the Love Interest. After the intriguing set-up, Wasps degenerates into a figurative car chase, with people running around and pulling levers until the enemy is defeated.
Robert Moore Williams was one of the first sf writers I personally met, and he was impressive for unapologetically calling himself a “hack” whose career depended on avoiding a too-literary style. As he would say: “I have to stink ‘em up just right.”
(11) RETRO OSCARS. Io9’s Germain Lussier makes his pitch for “12 Scifi Movies That Totally Deserved to Win Best Picture Before The Shape of Water”. Hells yeah, give cousin Judy an Oscar!
The Wizard of Oz
Even in 1939, the Academy acknowledged that The Wizard of Oz was a masterpiece. The movie got six nominations, including Best Picture, but only won statuettes for song and score. It probably would’ve had a better chance if it wasn’t up against Gone With the Wind. Still, The Wizard of Oz remains one of the most beloved films of all time regardless of genre, and would have been a worthy recipient of the biggest honor in movies.
(12) PORGS MEET TERPSICHORE. And while I’m talking about io9, I say bless them for pointing out this video:
[Thanks to JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Stoic Cynic.]
(1) ALSO #METOO. In a follow-on to Myke Cole’s mea culpa as reported in the February 15 Pixel Scroll (item #3) about a thread on industry harassment at School Library Journal, author Janci Patterson, in a post entitled “Sexual Harassment, Apologies, and Forgiveness” explains how Cole’s willingness to own, and apologize for, his past behavior has made a huge difference in her life:
That is what it was like being a woman in publishing who had been harassed. I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?
I knew why. After Zoe Quinn, women in my position all know. We are all one internet post away from being Zoe Quinn.
And then Myke apologized. If you haven’t yet, take a minute and read what he wrote. What he says describes my experience exactly. It’s a damn good apology. He admits to what he did, in specific terms. He expresses that he was unaware that he did it, but he doesn’t treat that as an excuse. He addresses his victims directly and says he’s sorry. He expresses additional sorrow. He talks about both what he’s going to do to make reparations and also how he’s going to address his behavior going forward.
Reading that changed the whole world for me. I had been watching the cultural shifts in our post-#metoo, post-Weinstein-scandal world, but for me, this was the final piece. In that moment, I went from a scared woman with a difficult secret to a woman who could speak authentically. Who could tell the truth. No one could jump on me in any kind of credible way anymore. It was true. It happened. Myke admitted it was true. He saw the hypocrisy in his feminism. He owned it.
He set me free.
Another SFF author who was mentioned in the comments on the SLJ thread, Dan Wells, also posted his thoughts on harassment and being willing to step up and do better:
I have always believed that you should believe a woman who says she’s been harassed, so I believe these women, too.
And then I was accused of being a harasser.
And then the same woman recanted her accusation.
I do not know who this woman is, as she posted anonymously both times, but I want to take this opportunity to pubicly accept her apology, and to thank her for coming forward.
But here’s the thing: I believed her. Obviously I didn’t believe that I had assaulted someone and then forgotten about it, or anything ridiculous like that. But I was – and am – willing to believe that without intending to and without noticing I had done something to make a woman feel uncomfortable or unwelcome or unsafe…
I could have raged against the injustice of this comment – and to be perfectly honest, a part of me did – but the more useful, more helpful response was to sit down and take a good hard look at myself and my actions. What have I been doing, and what can I do in the future, to make the conventions I attend and the spaces I inhabit safer for other people?
Recanted accusation or not, I found some stuff I need to work on. Not a long history of abusive behavior, but a tune-up on boundaries, and on thinking before I speak.
(2) THE LATTER IS NOT RECOMMENDED. SFF author Jeremiah Tolbert spent last Saturday at the Planet ComicCon Kansas City 2018, and he says, “ComicCons Are More Fun With Children. You Should Make Some, or Steal Somebody’s”.
So given that I’m not big on photos with famous people (but definitely not above walking past autograph alley to oogle them and say, without fail, “oh, they’re shorter than I expected”), and I am not really a collector of toys or comics, why would I ever attend these things? Two simple reasons: to meet up with professionals attending who are good friends and to watch my tiny human
Little Dude Tolbert (hereafter referred to LDT) will be four in June, and he’s developing into quite the little protogeek.
The hero of the ComicCon we spent the day at is the gentleman who modded his R2D2 to give hugs. We had to chase our son down multiple times throughout the day only to find this happening. pic.twitter.com/wW1NnbbTKh
— Jeremiah Tolbert (@jeremiahtolbert) February 18, 2018
(3) CONTRACTUALLY DEFICIENT. In a public post on Patreon, Jason Sanford reported:
Since the first of the year I’ve written a couple of times about Spectacle Magazine, a new quarterly speculative fiction publication (see here and here for previous articles). The magazine is published and edited by Kevin Hale and Danny Dumas and aims to be a high-end venue for thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction focused on SF/F themes.
Three days ago the Spectacle’s editors sent out a number of story acceptances. Normally you’d expect authors to be excited about acceptances, but news quickly spread that many of them were not happy with the contract terms being offered. I personally had multiple authors contact me about issues around the contracts they were offered…
There are several issues there, including with derivative rights. At worst this derivative rights grab could allow Spectacle to create films or video games or nearly anything else using the stories they purchased and the authors wouldn’t be able to object.
There are also other issues with the contract, such as not laying out when the work would be published or that the rights will revert to the author in the case the story is never published.
Shortly afterward, Spectacle Magazine published the following tweet:
Just a heads up that we’ve reached out to SFWA to figure out how to fix our contributor contract. We want to be good citizens and will make any changes retroactive for all authors. Thx @jasonsanford for making the intro. https://t.co/BvCDnKNw6A
— Spectacle Magazine (@specspecfic) February 19, 2018
Another author on Twitter noted, with astonishment:
It seems that you have all managed to have a conversation about possible errors without anybody slinging insults. As an added bonus, it seems to have ended on a positive note. This is downright heartwarming.
— Matencera Wolf (@matencerawolf) February 20, 2018
(4) DEADLINE EXTENDED. Worldcon 76 has announced that the deadline for submissions to their Academic Track have been extended to March 1, 2018:
Participants in the Academic Track will have a chance at winning a “Best Academic Track Paper” cash prize from The Heinlein Society. This $250 prize will be awarded based on the presentations as given at Worldcon 76. Given this new opportunity, we will extend the submission deadline to March 1st.
Details on submitting can be found at the Worldcon 76 website.
(5) THIS IS THE FUTURE THAT FILERS WANT. Via Foz Meadows:
(6) TAKING CREDIT. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in her latest column “Business Musings: Editorial Encroachment”, comments on the recent trend she’s been seeing of editors requiring equal authorial credit on books:
Last week, as I was searching for a friend’s book on Amazon, I made a loathsome discovery. My friend’s book, which is up for preorder, lists her name and the name of someone else on the byline.
I had never heard of that someone else. So I clicked on the preorder, and what did I see? A cover, with just my friend’s name on it.
So I glanced up at the title. Beneath it was this byline:
My Friend (Author), Annoying Person (Editor)
I went through the roof. My friend wrote that book. She hired Annoying Person to edit the book.
I looked up Annoying Person and found her terms and conditions. She sounds like a fairly knowledgeable editor. She only handles copy editing and line editing (although it sounds like she would have a pretty heavy hand). She explicitly says she does not do developmental editing.
Which means she has done exactly nothing on this book. She didn’t come up with the concept. She didn’t brainstorm the characters. She didn’t improve the plot. She didn’t imagine the setting.
All she did was tweak the words.
So why the hell is she getting credit for this book?
Rusch explains in detail why she believes that going along with this is damaging to an author’s brand, and offers advice to authors who are faced with such contracts by their editors.
(7) CHESHIRE CATS. In a Twitter thread, lindsay beth explains how your SJW Credential always manages to magically appear, despite not having been in any of the places you’ve looked: (click the date/time stamp to read the whole thread)
When you're looking everywhere for your cat–in all the usual hiding places, underneath beds and in boxes, behind chairs and closet doors–and you can't find them only for the cat to appear out of nowhere a moment later you know the cat's been in Catspace
— lindsay beth (@ellle_em) February 20, 2018
(8) NEBULOSITY. Filer Cora Buhlert has posted “Some Thoughts on the 2017 Nebula Award Nominees”, and offers her thoughts on the shortlists of the various categories as well as some possible trends.
In general, what’s notable about the adult fiction categories is that Uncanny dominates the short fiction categories, followed by Tor.com and Clarkesworld. Tor.com absolutely dominates the novella category, while Orbit dominates best novel. The decline of the big three print magazines continues. F&SF and Asimov’s managed to garner one nomination each, while Analog didn’t get any at all. Only a single nominee in the fiction categories is self-published. Thematically, I don’t see a clear trend beyond a preferences for works with historical settings.
Buhlert’s piece contains more detailed analysis of individual entries, as well as of the levels of diversity reflected by the shortlist authors.
(9) DOCTOR WHEN. The Gallifrey Times says that during the February 21 BBC Worldwide Showcase Panel at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, it appeared to be confirmed that Doctor Who will be returning in October 2018.
In the background, we see a promotional photo of the Thirteenth Doctor with some text that reads:
Series 11 – 1×65 – 9×50 – delivers October 2018
You can view the Liverpool Echo’s photo gallery of the event here.
(10) ACHIEVEMENT GATEKEPT. Experienced gamer and blogger Mysty Vander describes how she conquered her social anxiety to attend a gaming convention in 2017, only to be confronted with outrageous sexism, in “Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play”:
We reached a point where my Gunslinger passed a search check nobody else did. I had found a letter. My character was quiet, stoic, and kept to herself – she likely would only divulge the necessary information. When the GM took the letter out, he handed it to the man playing Freya instead of myself. Okay…that’s fine, not a big deal, as long as I get to read it in the end (being partially deaf at a convention, I truly needed to read it with my own eyes to understand all of it).
That didn’t quite happen. Freya’s player read it, passed it along to the older man beside him, and then the note went no further. “Oh, so we need to find the South Gate?” Freya inquired.
The player beside him responded, “Seems like it,” and handed the note back to the GM.
“May I see the note?” I asked.
Without hesitation, the player playing Freya responded, “No need, we know what it meant, sweetie,” he said with a smile.
(11) JUMPING ON THE MAPWAGON. The February 19 Pixel Scroll (item #9), mentions an artist who has done Lord of the Rings-style maps of UK and US National Parks. Kim Huett points out that an Australian artist has done a map of Canberra in the style of Game of Thrones.
(13) BUG REPORTS. In xkcd’s 2018 CVE List, Randall Munroe details the most recently-discovered Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures of software, of which we must all be wary. Be sure to mouseover the image for a special Security Disclosure.
(14) DEBUNKING THE MYTHS. In “Hugo Myth Season Again”, Cheryl Morgan dispels the idea that nominators must have read exhaustively in order to be legitimate nominators:
Voting is open for this year’s Hugo Awards, and consequently I need to get back to dispelling the strange ideas about the Hugos that seem to proliferate at this time of the year.
This post has been inspired in particular by the latest episode of the Coode Street Podcast where Gary and Jonathan do their usual fine job, but don’t quite get everything right.
Something that they do get right is the “I haven’t read enough” myth. Every year people trot out the idea that if you haven’t read “everything” then you are not eligible to nominate. This is nonsense.
However, Morgan says that there is another persistent myth to which even the Coode Street Regulars have fallen, which must be corrected:
Finally we come to the bit where the podcast goes totally off the rails. Jonathan resurrects one of the best known zombies of Hugo lore, the idea that the Hugos were once for science fiction only and were later changed to include fantasy. This is not entirely Jonathan’s fault. He got the story from Justin Ackroyd. I have had this discussion with Justin before. He was wrong then and he is still wrong now.
(15) I GOT YOUR EXHIBIT RIGHT HERE. Filer von Dimpleheimer, after seeing the announcement in the February 18 Pixel Scroll (item #21) that the exhibit “A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Science Fiction and the Literature of the Fantastic from the Collection of Henry Wessells” would be taking place at The Grolier Club, stopped by when he was in the neighborhood. You can see his photos of the exhibit here.
– photo by von Dimpleheimer
(16) INADVERTENT DOXXING. In an article entitled “Furry Website Leaks Real Identities”, Medium contributor Sky raises some issues for concern regarding the registration software system used by a number of fannish conventions.
A “feature” in the popular convention registration system ‘Convention Master’ lets anyone find out your fursona name just by typing your real name.
The software is used widely by many conventions, especially in the furry scene. Civet Solutions, the maker of the software, boast “over one hundred and fifty thousand registrations processed.” If you’ve ever attended a furry convention, there’s decent odds they have your data on file… and are now leaking it with no plans to ever stop.
During online pre-registration, you enter your first and last name to see if you have an account at that convention. Unfortunately, anyone can do this. If you’ve ever pre-registered for that convention, or registered on site in a previous year, you have an account. And everyone can see you’ve attended that con with just your first and last name.
Even worse, your fursona name is also displayed.
Yep, that’s right. Anyone can find your fursona name if they know your real name.
Known affected furry cons:
- Alamo City Furry Invasion
- Pacific Anthropomorphics Weekend
- Wild Prairie Fur Con
Known affected non-furry cons:
The article’s author discusses potential personal and professional implications of the public accessibility of members’ information, as well as possible avenues for remediation. They have also added a follow-up:
UPDATE NOTE: This article was updated with a section of feedback from Civet Solutions at the end of the article. Although the real name look-up feature in question will unfortunately not be removed from the software in future, I encourage you to read the update over to better understand their point of view and their future development plans.
(17) OLD PEOPLE READ YOUR SFF. In the past, James Davis Nicoll took requests on a commission basis only. However, he has now opened a Suggestion Box. There’s no guarantee that the work you suggest will be reviewed; however, submissions are welcome.
(18) YOU SHOULD SEE THIS. At Skiffy and Fanty, Stephen Geigen-Miller offers his “Best Graphic Story Hugo Recommendations”:
One of my biggest personal goals with these reviews – I mention this in the introduction to every column, and unpacked it a bit in my Month of Joy post – is to bring more, and different, deserving SFFnal comics, webcomics and graphic novels to the attention of SF&F readers.
That’s especially important when when it gets to be Hugo nomination season; I want to see a diverse, inclusive, smart Best Graphic Story category that reflects the breadth of the material that’s out there, and I want other genre readers to have the chance to find and fall in love with those comics, like I have.
(19) WHY SETI IS CONTRAINDICATED.
— Geoffrey Miller (@primalpoly) February 20, 2018
(20) ANNIHILATED. At The Verge, Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland talks about using sci-fi to explore self-destruction:
I think the main thematic preoccupation probably belongs primarily to the film, which is really about self-destruction. It’s about the nature of self-destruction in a literal sense: cells have life cycles and stars have life cycles and plants and the universe and us. You, me, everyone. But also psychological forms of self-destruction.
It was born out of a funny kind of preoccupation I started to have, that everybody is self-destructive, which is a strange thing to notice. I think a lot of self-destruction is very obvious. [Gestures to cigarettes on the table.] That’s an obvious self-destruction, right? And if a friend of yours is a heroin addict or an alcoholic, that’s an obvious kind of self-destruction. But there are also… You’ve also got friends, or people you encounter, who are super comfortable in their own skin, and very self-possessed, and feel like they have understood some sort of secret to existence that you’re not party to. And then you start to see, no, that’s not quite right. It’s more complicated than that. And fissures and fault lines appear, and between the fissures and the fault lines, you see bits of behavior that doesn’t really make sense – like they’re dismantling things in their lives for no good reason.
In “People Have Accused Annihilation of Whitewashing. Here’s How Its Director and Stars Responded” TIME Magazine reports:
Anticipation for the movie has been high since the release of the first trailer last fall. But recently, some, including the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans, have accused the film of whitewashing the roles played by Portman’s and Leigh’s characters, saying the characters on which they are based are of Asian descent and Native American descent, respectively, in the trilogy. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland “exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character.”
Others have pointed out that revelations of the two characters’ ethnic backgrounds are not made until subsequent books in the series.
In response to the criticism, Garland provided the following statement to TIME:
This is an awkward problem for me, because I think whitewashing is a serious and real issue, and I fully support the groups drawing attention to it.
But the characters in the novel I read and adapted were not given names or ethnicities. I cast the film reacting only to the actors I met in the casting process, or actors I had worked with before. There was no studio pressure to cast white. The casting choices were entirely mine.
As a middle-aged white man, I can believe I might at times be guilty of unconscious racism, in the way that potentially we all are. But there was nothing cynical or conspiratorial about the way I cast this movie.
While Portman, Leigh and Novotny are white, co-stars Thompson and Rodriguez are women of color. Oscar Isaac, who plays Portman’s character’s husband in the film, is of Guatemalan and Cuban descent.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, James Davis Nicoll, Jason Sanford, Kim Huett, RedWombat, ULTRAGOTHA, and von Dimpleheimer for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 Contributing Editor of the Day JJ.]
(1) HIGH CONCEPT. This quartet of movie posters for Solo features Han Solo, Qi’ra, Lando, and Chewie.
(2) WAIT A MINUTE. Mark Hamill is going to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You mean he didn’t already have one? And this guy did? —
Trump was awarded a Walk of Fame star in 2007 for his role in reality series “The Apprentice.”
The official ceremony for Hamill’s star will take place on Mar. 8, according to Variety magazine. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and Hamill’s costar, Harrison Ford, will assist in hosting the event.
Can't say this is a dream come true because I was never foolish enough to think something like this could ever happen. When part of me doubts I deserve such an honor, I remind myself that someone got a "Star" for just one crappy reality show. #BeyondGr8ful ? https://t.co/CEzO0jdD3k
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) February 22, 2018
(3) WORLDCON 76 PROGRESS REPORT 2. Available to read here [PDF file].
Worldcon 76 – San Jose in 2018 has just published Progress Report 2!
Inside: Fans and Food, John Picacio, My First Worldcon stories, preview our Exhibits, Hotel updates, WSFS Constitution, Red Carpet invitation to the 1943 Retro Hugos…and more.https://t.co/aHMaQ0CwqR
— Worldcon 76 San Jose (@worldcon2018) February 24, 2018
(4) MEXICANX INITIATIVE HITS 50. Worldcon 76 guest of honor John Picacio and supporters have reached a milestone:
WE DID IT. Thanks to my Mexicanx Initiative teammates, we have now reached our goal of 50(!!!) Sponsored Attending Memberships to Worldcon 76 in San Jose for deserving Mexicanx pros and fans. I had envisioned doing this since last August, but it was exactly one month ago that I was able to announce this endeavor. My good friend John Scalzi immediately joined in, and together with some amazing friends, here we are — ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED. My friends at ALAMO pushed us over the top with the final seven memberships! This was truly a team effort and you’re looking at everyone responsible for this win: John Scalzi Mary Robinette Kowal Chris Rose Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction Ctein John O’Halloran Elizabeth McCarty Chris Brown Kate Elliott Kat Angeli Rina Elson Weisman Randall Shepherd Richard Flores IV Amazing Stories Worldcon 76 in San Jose Joanna Volpe, Ty Franck, Mur Lafferty, Christine O’ Halloran, BWAWA, and of course, Canadiense Anónima. Muchas gracias, all!
Picacio reveals there will be a follow-on fundraiser:
For those still wanting to contribute — ping me. I’ll share more on this tomorrow, but I’ve been building a secondary fund called ‘The Mexicanx Initiative Assistance Fund’, to assist with travel and food needs for Mexicanx facing an expensive journey to Worldcon 76 in San Jose. I’ve done this quietly, but it’s been building and it’s a complementary, but very separate fund from what we’ve achieved above. And yes, Worldcon’s treasury handles all the money. I never touch it. I just go get it.
(5) PROFESSIONAL DISCOURTESIES. John Picacio came back online later to chastize Terry Goodkind for belittling the artist of one of Goodkind’s book covers.
Heads up to everyone in the publishing industry: Authors, please take note, especially those new to the sf/f field — Pictured here is some of the most unprofessional behavior you will ever witness. This is a writer publicly throwing his cover artist under the bus, while embarrassing his publisher and their art director. This is the behavior of a child throwing a tantrum. It’s pathetic and it’s bush league. Never make the same mistake this guy just did. EVER. To Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme: Hold your head high. We’ve got your back.
And on Twitter they do have his back — lots of supportive tweets like these —
If you were wondering, the cover artist from that Terry Goodkind novel is Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme and he has an absolutely gorgeous body of work pic.twitter.com/SRPpmLXAje
— gucci dragon ? (@okaykaiju) February 25, 2018
I just found out the artist whose cover work Terry Goodkind cruelly and unfairly insulted on Facebook is a god tier artist whose work I recognize from MTG cards. I highly recommend him. His shop is here https://t.co/jbYg1fQYAB
— jackoff john morrison ? (@jacksgabe) February 25, 2018
(6) NONFICTION FICTION. In “Why Adding Monsters and Fairies to a Memoir Can Make It Even More Real”, Matthew Cheney, Carmen Maria Machado, Rosalind Palermo Stevenson, and Sofia Samatar discuss the speculative memoir.
Sofia Samatar: Since I am starting this adventure, let me tell you why I chose to bring this particular group together. Carmen has written some of my favorite short stories, and one time when we were sharing a hotel room at a conference, I told her I’d been thinking about the intersection of memoir and speculative fiction, and she said she was actually working on a speculative memoir at the moment. Matt’s a fiction writer, too, and I invited him because, also at a conference, at some reception in a dark room, we were standing around with our paper plates, and he told me he was writing a dissertation on the blurry space between fiction and nonfiction, looking at Virginia Woolf and J.M. Coetzee and Samuel R. Delany. Rosalind is a brilliant writer, whose story “Insect Dreams” I have read many times. Her work plays with history and the fantastic, and recently she told me her new book is about the idea of the female Adam, and described it as a “hybrid” and a “faux autobiography.”
I started thinking about the idea of “speculative memoir” because I was a fantasy and science fiction writer whose work was becoming more and more autobiographical. Of course, all writing draws from experience, but there’s a particularly weird energy to writing memoir, in a deliberate way, in a fantastic or uncanny mode. It seems to announce a certain relationship to memory, and to experience. I wonder if each of you could start by talking a bit about this in relation to your own work. What do you find compelling about the concept of speculative memoir?
(7) REALLY EVERYTHING. Jeb Kinnison’s after action report about Life, The Universe & Everything 2018 covers some dimensions not heard about in the earlier File 770 account.
The LibertyCon contingent was well-represented, with local writers Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen, and Sarah Hoyt in from Colorado. Baen did its roadshow and the infamous Lawdog attended. While I met Larry briefly at LibertyCon two years back, I saw a lot more of him and his charming wife Bridget this time. We had listened to the audiobook of “Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent” (written by Larry, read by Adam Baldwin) on the drive up. As Larry’s media empire has grown and the movie options for some of his worlds are pending, it’s kind of a thrill that he now knows who I am and lets me hug him (his excuse being his arm was injured and couldn’t take too many handshakes.)
(8) NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED. Allegedly. “PETA Hands Out Awards to ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Jumanji’ for Being Animal-Friendly”.
From Star Wars: The Last Jedi to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Thursday revealed the Hollywood actors and movies it recognizes for animal-friendly achievements this year with its first-ever Oscats Awards.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi nabbed the prizes for best live-action movie and best original screenplay for positive storylines, like Finn and Rose liberating fathiers used for racing and Chewbacca choosing not to eat a porg.
Wait a minute, in the movie I saw, Chewie already killed and cooked one of the damn things! How does PETA square giving an award after that?
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
(11) RELENTLESS. Kameron Hurley isn’t willing to coast: “From Good to Great: Starting With ‘Why'”.
It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re crushing yourself against a system. I loved being a young, scrappy writer in my 20’s, speaking truth to “the establishment,” and coming up through the slings and arrows of SFF publishing to claim my space within it. But what happens when you become the establishment? Do you just head off to do the movie deals, to expand your work to a new audience? Do you spend your time mentoring new writers? Do you just blurb a lot of books?
Accepting that I was an established author has been a hard road, for me. There are young people coming into SFF now who don’t know of an SFF without me in it. I’ve been publishing novels for seven years, which feels like a blink compared to my hard road to get here, but plenty of readers have come of age during those seven years, and for some that’s half or a third or a quarter of their lives. I know I have a long way to go, still. A huge career ahead. But I need to find my passion again for why I’m doing this. I have to find the why, or the road just stops here.
And, you know, I realize this sounds like, “Wah, wah, I got everything I wanted!” but I’ve seen how many people get stuck at “good” on the way to great. And I don’t want to just be good. I want to be great. To get to great requires continuous learning, interrogation of what you want, and leveling up again and again. So while I may not have all the steps mapped out to get me to “great” yet… at least that seems to be the place I want to reach. I don’t want to stop at good. I’ve gotten to good.
(12) HI-TECH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY POSSE. Fast Company profiles copyright violation search services in “Here Come The Copyright Bots For Hire, With Lawyers In Tow”.
“I climbed up 900 stairs on an island to take a photo of the whole island, and it was used on the cover of a local magazine out there,” she says.
[Photographer Christy] Turner might not have known about the photo theft if not for a pair of services called Copypants and Pixsy, which use algorithms to scour the internet for copies of photographers’ work and help them enforce their rights. They send stern letters to suspected infringers, demanding that their clients be compensated or that licensing fees be paid; in some cases, law firms that work with the companies will even initiate a lawsuit on their behalf. In Turner’s case, justice came in the form of $500 in damages.
(13) SIDE BY SIDE. Cat Eldridge says, “One of the firm memes of sf is that new technologies always replace existing technologies. Reality is far messier than that meme which is why shows like Firefly makes sense.” Fast Company contends “The CD Business Isn’t Dying—It’s Just Evolving”.
…“We felt like the culture dictated that people were going to buy vinyl, not CDs,” says Kevin Farzad, Sure Sure’s drummer and percussionist. “And we were kind of surprised that more CDs sold than not.”
The band could be forgiven for assuming CDs wouldn’t sell. From their peak of $13.2 billion in 2000, U.S. CD revenues have slid to just $1.2 billion in 2016, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. And as listeners flock to streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, the CD’s decline isn’t slowing down. Earlier this month, Billboard reported that Best Buy will stop selling CDs in stores this summer, and that Target only wants to pay distributors for the CDs it actually sells. Some observers saw the news as a death blow to a fading format.
Yet it’s hard to reconcile that gloomy outlook with what’s happening in the indie music world, where the CD is still thriving. Earlier this week, the online music store Bandcamp reported 18% year-over-year growth in CD sales for 2017, up from 14% growth in 2016. (Bandcamp declined to comment for this story.)
(14) JOBS APPLICATION. History on the block: “Steve Jobs’s 1973 job application going on sale” and is expected to fetch $50K.
It is not known what the application was for, nor whether Jobs was successful.
He wrote his name as “Steven jobs” and his address as “reed college”, the school he attended briefly in Portland, Oregon before dropping out.
On the form, Jobs responded “yes” to having a driving licence but when asked if he had access to a car he wrote “possible, but not probable”.
Next to “Phone” the creator of the iPhone wrote “none”.
(15) PROXY CANCERS. In-vitro repro of specific tumors lets oncologists test drug efficacy without testing patients: “‘Mini-tumours’ created to battle cancer”.
Scientists have been able to predict how cancer patients will respond to therapy by growing miniature versions of their tumours in the laboratory.
They say the groundbreaking work could lead to “smarter, kinder and more effective treatments”.
The study, in the journal Science, was 100% accurate at telling which drugs would fail and this could spare patients from unnecessary side-effects.
Mini-tumours could also be a powerful way of testing new drugs.
(16) BEST HORROR. The cover for Ellen Datlow’s The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten, has been revealed:
(17) MEDIA TIE-IN. In the Washington Post, DeNeen L. Brown interviews Jesse Holland, who wrote the Black Panther novelization while spending a semester as the distinguished visiting professor of the ethics of journalism at the University of Arkansas: “He loved ‘Black Panther’ comics as a kid. Then Marvel asked him to write a novel for the movie.”
Holland, who teaches nonfiction writing at Goucher College outside Baltimore, had already written four books, including “The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House,” when Marvel approached him.
They’d seen his companion novel for another blockbuster movie: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He’d written about Finn, a former First Order stormtrooper.
After “Finn’s Story” was published in 2016, an editor at Marvel called Holland. “She says, ‘We have this character, the Black Panther,’?” Holland recalled. “There’s never been a novel about the Black Panther.”
Marvel wanted to recount the origin of the Black Panther in novel form, update the story and introduce the superhero to new readers.
“Most of the world didn’t know the character until last year,” Holland said. “If you want a succinct origin story to tell you who he is, my novel is a good place to start. You’ll see a lot of characters in the movie in the novel. We are drawing from the same wellspring.”
(18) WAKANDA WEAR. Yahoo! Entertainment’s Gwynne Watkins, in “Behind ‘Black Panther’: The hidden meanings of those stunning Wakanda costumes”, looks at the costume designers for Black Panther and what statements they were trying to make in describing a country that had never been conquered by colonial powers.
Yahoo Entertainment: The concept of Wakanda as an African nation that was never colonized by the Dutch or British is so powerful. How did that inform your design choices?
Ruth Carter: I discovered so many things about Africa that I didn’t know — like, the cloth that we normally see in many African-inspired things, the wax cloth, was brought in from the Dutch. There are influences of the British; when you see a Nigerian wedding, you’ll see a Nigerian traditional drape and a guy with a top hat on. [laughs] So you have to dig deeper and go to the indigenous tribes of Africa. You’re not a real historian, you’re just kind of the temporary historian for the picture, so you’re looking at beadwork and you’re looking at carvings and you’re looking at masks. And you’re being inspired by patterns. There are a couple of patterns that I saw repeated throughout the continent: one is like a checkerboard, another one is a triangle.
And I looked at books on African ceremonies, since ceremonies reminded me of precolonization. So for example, the Dogon tribe were the first astronomers. They do a ceremony once a year where they adorn themselves in these brilliant raffia skirts and wood-carving masks that shoot up to the stars — they’re really tall. And they do these moves that sweep the earth….
(19) NOW BOARDING. Flying to Wakanda? Your connecting flight is ready in Atlanta.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is getting into the Marvel movie spirit by jokingly offering flights to Wakanda — the fictional country from Black Panther.
The airport tweeted out a digitally altered image of gate T3 showing its destination as Wakanda, the kingdom ruled by King T’Challa, aka the Black Panther, in the eponymous super hero film.
— Atlanta Airport (@ATLairport) February 19, 2018
[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Peer.]
(1) IT COULD BE A REAL PLACE. Nadia Maddy hopes people will look beyond their headspace for the answer to “Where Is Your Wakanda?”
Where is your Wakanda? Wakanda is real but have you found it? Is it really in East Africa or is it in Central Africa? Perhaps its in Nigeria? What do you think?
(2) LE GUIN WINS A PEN AWARD. PEN America held its 2018 Literary Awards ceremony on February 20 at New York University reports Publishers Weekly — “Long Soldier, Zhang, Le Guin Win At 2018 PEN Literary Awards”.
[Ursula K.] Le Guin won the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay for No Time to Spare. The author’s son, Theo [accepted the] award on behalf of the late Ursula K. Le Guin.
(3) A SINGAPORE FIRST – AND SECOND. The Straits Times interviews “Two Singaporeans on Nebula awards shortlist”, J.Y. Yang and Vina Jie-Min Prasad.
Yang, a science communications officer, recalls: “When I was growing up, I would print out a list of the works that had won the Hugo and Nebula and try to make my way through them. I would never have imagined that one day I would be a finalist. I’m so proud to be one of the Singaporeans on the list, it’s just fantastic.”
Prasad, 27, a full-time writer, started submitting to science-fiction magazines only last year, but has already been shortlisted twice. “I’m overwhelmed and really honoured,” she says.
She is up for Best Novelette for A Series Of Steaks, about two women in Nanjing who forge quality beef – inspired by the real-life counterfeit food industry – and Best Short Story for Fandom For Robots, in which a sentient robot discovers Japanese anime and starts writing fan fiction.
(4) AT YOUR SERVICE. For anyone who wants paper Hugo and Retro-Hugo ballots, there’s now a way to print them.
Worldcon 76 has published PDFs of the paper nominating ballots for the 2018 Hugo Awards/Award for Best Young Adult Book/John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer and for the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards.
(5) NOMMO NOMINATIONS OPEN. Members of the African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS) have until March 31 to nominate works for the 2018 Nommo Awards. The awards will be presented at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in November 2018.
(6) BUZZWORDKILL. In The Atlantic, Bruce Sterling commands people to “Stop Saying ‘Smart Cities'” – “Digital stardust won’t magically make future cities more affordable or resilient.”
The term “smart city” is interesting yet not important, because nobody defines it. “Smart” is a snazzy political label used by a modern alliance of leftist urbanites and tech industrialists. To deem yourself “smart” is to make the NIMBYites and market-force people look stupid.
Smart-city devotees all over this world will agree that London is particularly smart. Why? London is a huge, ungainly beast whose cartwheeling urban life is in cranky, irrational disarray. London is a god-awful urban mess, but London does have some of the best international smart-city conferences.
London also has a large urban-management bureaucracy who emit the proper smart-city buzzwords and have even invented some themselves. The language of Smart City is always Global Business English, no matter what town you’re in.
(7) IN TRAINING. Lightspeed Magazine interviews Carmen Maria Machado about her learning experiences.
I know that you also went to the Clarion science fiction writers workshop. I wonder if you could contrast Iowa and Clarion a little bit?
Clarion is not an MFA program. Clarion is a six-week, insane, exhausting boot camp. It’s a totally different process. The MFA program is more moderate, in the sense that it’s happening over the course of several years. I don’t know really how to compare them. The workshop style is really different. Genre places tend to use the system where everybody goes around in a circle and says their piece and then is silent.
The Milford system?
Oh yeah, the Milford. Which, actually, I do not like that workshop system, but that is the way it’s done at Clarion. It was done that way when I went to Sycamore Hill. That’s just the sort of tradition. Whereas, in my MFA program, it was more of a style of people talking and responding to each other in real time, which I prefer. It’s hard to compare Clarion and Iowa. They’re just inherently really different in terms of what you’re getting out of them. What I got out of Iowa was two years of funded time to work on my own shit, which was amazing and really wonderful. What I got out of Clarion was this really bombastic, high-intensity, octane-fueled, genre extravaganza where I barely slept. I was writing a lot of stuff, some of which was really terrible, and some of which was pretty good, and workshopping non-stop and barely sleeping. They’re really different programs.
(8) IF YOU CAN SAY SOMETHING NICE. Marshall Ryan Maresca helps sff readers pay attention to some people who are doing it the right way in “On My Mind: Building Community”.
So, this past weekend I was at Boskone, and it was a wonderful time, as I was reminded what an amazing community we have in SF/Fantasy Literature. There are some amazing people in this business, who are filled with wisdom and warmth and kindness. I had the great fortune of sharing the signing table with Mary Robinette Kowal, who all of these attributes in abundance. We, as a community, are blessed to have her in it.
Sadly, this past week, I’ve also been reminded that we have a way to go, and there are some people who thrive in being terrible, and making things unpleasant for those around them. And that behavior, sadly, gets them notoriety. They get talked about, which serves their ends. I won’t give them the time of day.
Because the people who are wonderful, who do great work and are good people– they’re the ones who deserve notoriety. They’re the ones who should get notice and have their names mentioned over and over. So here is a large list of great people who deserve your attention…..
(9) COMICS SECTION.
(10) STORY AMPLIFIED. Yesterday’s Scroll linked to the latest release in Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination’s Future Tense Fiction series, “Mother of Invention” by Nnedi Okorafor. Joey Eschrich notes that it was published along with a response essay by Internet of Things expert Stacey Higginbotham, focusing on the smart home technology in the story.
“A Snow, A Flood, A Fire” by Jamie Berrout (published in Strange Horizons, 01/2018 )
What It Is: Coming in a special issue of Strange Horizons featuring transgender and nonbinary authors, “A Snow, A Flood, A Fire” stars Lupita, a trans woman stuck in an awful job as a security guard at a museum, hoping that she can work her way out of mistakes she made when she was younger and her world was imploding. The changing nature of employment, learning algorithms, employer greed and entitlement, and the dream of economic mobility all collide in a plot that kept the reading experience for me fast and tight and devastating. (And for fans of this story, I also recommend checking out “Dream Job” in January’s Terraform SF, which also explores themes of employment and the traps of late capitalism).
Why I Love It: Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, but stories exploring the future of employment and capitalism seem to be on the rise. For me, it’s a constant reminder of the realities of growing up and entering the workforce in a time where so many things that previous generations take for granted are in shambles or completely gone. Retirement contributions, healthcare, vacation, sick leave, debt forgiveness—the present isn’t exactly a cheery place for many hoping to live and maybe reach for that dream of comfort, security, and autonomy. …
[Via Earl Grey Editing Services.]
(12) BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER, MORE! At Featured Futures, Jason has posted an “Expanded Collated Contents of the Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, Links)” which begins its additional coverage with Ellen Datlow’s freshly announced The Best Horror of the Year, Volume Ten.
By request, this is an expanded edition of Collated Contents of the Big Year’s Bests (2017 Stories, with Links!). That post collates and links to the stories selected by Clarke, Dozois, Horton, and Strahan. This will add Afsharirad, Best American SF&F, Datlow, and Guran.
(13) SIGNAGE. Culver City, CA’s Ripped Bodice Bookstore gives fair warning:
This sign is my greatest professional accomplishment pic.twitter.com/uytWrydmuu
— The Ripped Bodice (@TheRippedBodice) February 18, 2018
(14) PASSING THE BUCKING BRONCO. Something else we know that ain’t so: “Why The Last ‘Wild’ Horses Really Aren’t”.
A Mongolian horse that has long been hailed as the last truly wild horse species in existence isn’t really all that wild.
It turns out that Przewalski’s horses are actually feral descendants of the first horses that humans are known to have domesticated, around 5,500 years ago.
What’s more, the modern horses that people ride today cannot be traced to those early steeds. That means humans must have tamed wild horses once again later on, somewhere else, but no one knows where or when.
(15) CAVE DWELLERS. If the pics remind you of a kindergarten project, remember your kids didn’t have to be the first people to ever have the idea: “Neanderthals were capable of making art”.
Contrary to the traditional view of them as brutes, it turns out that Neanderthals were artists.
A study in Science journal suggests they made cave drawings in Spain that pre-date the arrival of modern humans in Europe by 20,000 years.
They also appear to have used painted sea shells as jewellery.
Art was previously thought to be a behaviour unique to our species (Homo sapiens) and far beyond our evolutionary cousins.
The cave paintings include stencilled impressions of Neanderthal hands, geometric patterns and red circles.
(16) YOU CAN SEE WHERE THIS STORY IS LEADING. The people who built Stonehenge didn’t get to enjoy it for long: “Ancient Britons ‘replaced’ by newcomers”.
Prof Reich told BBC News: “Archaeologists ever since the Second World War have been very sceptical about proposals of large-scale movements of people in prehistory. But what the genetics are showing – with the clearest example now in Britain at Beaker times – is that these large-scale migrations occurred, even after the spread of agriculture.”
The genetic data, from hundreds of ancient British genomes, reveals that the Beakers were a distinct population from the Neolithic British. After their arrival on the island, Beaker genes appear to swamp those of the native farmers.
Prof Reich added: “The previous inhabitants had just put up the big stones at Stonehenge, which became a national place of pilgrimage as reflected by goods brought from the far corners of Britain.”
He added: “The sophisticated ancient peoples who built that monument and ones like it could not have known that within a short period of time their descendants would be gone and their lands overrun.”
(17) DON’T MISS THIS NON-GENRE LINK. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the surviving cast and writers for “‘MAS*H’ Oral History: Untold Stories From One of TV’s Most Important Shows”.
(18) NO ARMY CAN STOP AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME. Adam-Troy Castro offered this subtle suggestion on Facebook:
Let’s run an International Science Fiction Asshole Convention.
People who want to go to conventions or to award ceremonies in order to be disruptive assholes — all while filling thousands of pages of blog posts with their fiendish snickering about the trouble they intend and how much it will bother everyone else — will finally have their annual event, where they can hand out awards to honor The Year’s Biggest Asshole, The Year’s Biggest Dickweed, the Year’s Most Appalling Runner-Up, as well as the Award for Best Newcomer (which at the Hugos are named after a luminary with J, W, and C as initials, and can be done here as well, albeit in different order).
Steve Davidson has volunteered to do the con’s Souvenir Book. In fact, he’s not even going to wait for the convention to be founded —
I’m soliciting articles for this, lol. Someone want to write a history of the (what was it, the ISFC?) from its founding to the present?
Anyone want to do short profiles of award winners from the past?
(19) JUST WAITING TO BE FOUND. Annalee Newitz tells about the “8,000-year-old heads on spikes found in a remote Swedish lake” at Ars Technica. Warning – the article is full of grisly medical commentary.
In east-central Sweden, workers demolishing a railway that crossed the Motala Ström River discovered something bizarre. For roughly 7,500 years, a shallow, swampy lake in the area had hidden a pile of stones that contained the skeletal remains of at least 10 people and weapons made of stone and antler. They also found the bones of bears, deer, boar, and a badger. Two of the human skulls were mounted on pointed stakes.
Thousands of years ago, this semi-submerged burial ground must have been an imposing sight for the small settlements located nearby. A pile of rocks rose above the water, covered in weapons, wooden structures, and the grisly remains of fearsome animals—as well as the skulls of some carefully chosen people. Now dubbed “Kanaljorden,” the archaeological site has finally begun to yield some secrets about the people who created it. In a recent article for Antiquity, Stockholm University archaeologist Sara Gummesson and her colleagues explain what the evidence reveals about how this ritual site was used.
[Thanks to JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Joey Eschrich, Chip Hitchcock, Kendall, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
(1) MORE MEXICANX. John Picacio announced more picks to receive Worldcon 76 memberships from the Mexicanx Initiative.
Proudly announcing #TheMexicanxInitiative's next wave of Sponsored Membership Recipients to @worldcon2018! cc: @lizzhuerta @albertochimal @raxxie_ @adamgallardo @BabsWebbArt @pepe_rojo @GarciaCaton @canibaldelaire cc: @MaryRobinette @scalzi @mightymur @NB_Chris @SFinSFEvents pic.twitter.com/5HYcX8IRPb
— John Picacio (@JohnPicacio) February 19, 2018
(2) MANY DOLLARS WERE MADE. From NPR: “‘Black Panther’ Breaks Records And Barriers In Debut Weekend”
Black Panther pounced on the weekend box office, breaking cultural barriers and earning the highest debut ever for a February film, with an estimated three-day domestic gross of $192 million, said Disney, Marvel’s parent company.
The opening was the fifth highest-earning of any film, according to Disney. The only other movies that have brought in more are Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Jurassic World and The Avengers, according to The Associated Press.
(3) WAKANDA. Abigail Nussbaum weighs in on “A Political History of the Future: Black Panther” at the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog:
From architecture to interior design to costuming, every aspect of Wakanda was designed from the ground up to incorporate traditional African imagery while projecting it into a bold, positive future. Costume designer Ruth Carter’s bywords for the film were “Beautiful. Positive. Forward. Colorful.” Camille Friend, head of the movie’s hair department, has spoken about her determination to feature only natural black hair, in varying styles reflecting the different characters’ personalities. (In one amusing scene, no-nonsense Dora Milaje leader Okoye (Danai Gurira) complains about having to wear a Western-style wig while undercover. Later, during a fight, she throws the wig in her opponent’s face as a distraction.) Star Chadwick Boseman has explained his decision to give T’Challa, the new king of Wakanda, an African accent as an attempt to forestall the preconception that as a cosmopolitan member of the elite, he would naturally have been educated in Europe. In every respect, Black Panther is hard at work crafting an image of African life that is sophisticated, knowledge-based, and futuristic, while at the same time producing a society that is just, prosperous, and benevolent.
(4) CATALANO’S HAT TRICK. Frank Catalano has had three sf-related stories on GeekWire this week:
“I interviewed Peter S. Beagle about his memories of Pittsburgh, where he is getting his SFWA Grand Master Award this year, and also about Seattle, where he used to live. It was done as a study in contrasts between GeekWire’s home city of Seattle and Pittsburgh, a city it is highlighting for the month of February. I happened to think Beagle and the SFWA Nebula Conference were a natural tie.”
Beagle said he came to the University of Pittsburgh as a writing student in 1955, when he was 16 years old. “It was the Steel City of legend then: legendary for its griminess, its foul air, its wretched baseball team, the blazing mills along the river going night and day,” he recalled. “Seeing it from an airplane at night (which was my first sight of the city) was truly like being welcomed to hell.”
Yet the city grew on him. “I came to cherish Pittsburgh, as I still do, even though there literally isn’t a brick on a brick remaining of the mid-fifties town I knew,” he said.
“I also interviewed Ramez Naam, author of the Nexus trilogy of science-fiction thrillers, about his take on why the world is trending more toward the positive than the negative (plus the status of turning Nexus into something more than a novel), and had him re-visit some predictions he made in 2015, for my podcast on science fiction, pop culture and the arts. It led to two stories, the first on the state of the world and tech (and the state of Nexus), and the second on his predictions”:
If you were to ask globally known clean energy expert Ramez Naam what makes him optimistic about technology and the future, it may boil down to one word: scale.
Naam has a long history of thinking about the effects of scale, even before his current role as co-chair for energy and the environment at Singularity University. In his award-winning Nexus science fiction trilogy, Naam tackled the implications of widespread brain-to-brain communication. And in his past role as a computer scientist at Microsoft leading teams working on early versions of Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Bing, Naam came to appreciate what sheer magnitude can do.
“I learned that we can create tools that really improve people’s lives, and that technology can scale to help billions of people,” Naam said. “And that, I think, inspired me with the power of using our minds and our imaginations to make the world better.”
Many of these what-ifs recall a frequent theme of Naam’s writing and speaking: building resilience, both organizationally and individually, to technological change. “Technology moves faster than society, and society even has multiple strata,” he explained. Each is subsequently more sluggish, starting with how fast the next generation learns, to how fast we learn, to how fast organizations learn, and finally to how fast government learns.
So to deal with rapid change, Naam said, “We have to be more experimental as a society.” Governments may have to try different policies just to see which ones work. “That would be anathema to the way that politicians voice certainty of, ‘X will do Y.’ But that’s how science works. It’s how innovation in business works,” he said.
“Finally — and this is a personal favorite — a story that Tacoma will soon have a park named for Dune, honoring Frank Herbert. Why a personal favorite? Back in 1986, I was asked by Frank Herbert’s family to help field news media calls about his literary legacy when he died (at the time, I was very active in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and had been an officer of the organization). And the park’s setting is especially appropriate, as my story notes.”
There likely won’t be any sandworms, but that’s not needed to spice up this news: Tacoma, Wash., native Frank Herbert, best known for the hugely popular Dune science-fiction novels, is getting a namesake park in his home town.
The Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners has approved naming an 11-acre waterfront site “Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park,” and a winding pedestrian loop being built on the same site the “Frank Herbert Trail.” The public space is currently under construction on land that once housed the former ASARCO copper smelting operation, next to the Tacoma Yacht Club boat basin.
(5) JOE HILL ON VINYL. HarperAudio, the audio imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will publish Dark Carousel, a “vinyl-first” audiobook by New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill on April 20, a release timed to coincide with Record Store Day on April 21. Entertainment Weekly revealed the cover of Dark Carousel along with an exclusive excerpt from the audiobook.
Says author Joe Hill, “My hard rockin’ fantasies are pretty well documented at this point — the hero of my first novel was, after all, a world-famous heavy metal rocker. I’ve always wanted to have my own LP, and the idea that one of my stories is being released as an audiobook on vinyl blows my Beatles-quoting, Stones-fixated, Zeppelin-obsessed mind. Even better, I’m on the record with Matthew Ryan, a great American rocknrolla. His cover of “Wild Horses” is the best version of the song since the original. I’m so excited for readers and listeners to drop the needle on this story and Matt’s song.”
Written about a balmy summer night in 1994. Dark Carousel is the tale of four teenagers out for an evening of fun on the boardwalk who take a ride on the “Wild Wheel” – an antique carousel with a shadowy past – and learn too late that decisions made in an instant can have deadly consequences. What begins as a night of innocent end-of-summer revelry, young love, and (a few too many) beers among friends soon descends into chaos, as the ancient carousel’s parade of beasts comes chillingly to life to deliver the ultimate judgment for their misdeeds.
(6) HAVE YOU ORDERED YOURS YET? Hasbro wants 5,000 pre-orders to greenlight production: “Hasbro’s first HasLab toy is a replica of Jabba the Hutt’s barge”.
At this year’s Toy Fair in New York, Hasbro announced HasLab, a new program that aims to bring to life special creations like a massive, four-foot long recreation of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge. The company is taking inspiration from platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, too: In order for the barge to become a real for-sale production item, Hasbro wants to gather 5,000 $499 pre-orders by midnight on April 3rd.
If the project reaches its funding goal, Jabba’s Sail Barge (or The Khetanna if you’re a Star Wars geek) will come with a 64-page booklet with behind-the-scenes details, set photos, interviews and blueprints of the actual set piece in the film as well as production information on the toy. The barge also comes with a 3.75-inch scale Jabba the Hutt and soft cloth sails for the top of the sand boat.
The Khetanna—Jabba the Hutt’s famed sail barge—could come to life with your help! If we reach 5000 pre-orders, Jabba’s vehicle of choice for will become a reality – and the largest #StarWars vehicle ever created by Hasbro! Visit https://t.co/NG8rsvwgj4 for info! #HasbroToyFair pic.twitter.com/gsWR1D9qba
— Hasbro (@HasbroNews) February 19, 2018
— Newsarama (@Newsarama) February 18, 2018
(7) JOHN BROSNAN. Kim Huett’s next Doctor Strangemind post is “John Brosnan & the Abomnibus”. In 1969 John joined a group of other young Australians who were planning to travel by double-decker bus to England. The attempt was somewhat less than successful…
Something that John wrote extensively about in the early days was his attempt to travel by bus from Australia to England. Up until the eighties there was something of a tradition among young Australians to visit ‘Mother England’ before settling down to lives of quiet desperation in the sun-baked suburbs of Australia. Most such adventurers travelled to the mother country via cruise liner, a few lucky ones flew there, but John, being inexplicably drawn to doing everything the hard way, decided that he would spend several months of 1969 travelling to ‘Ye Merry England’ with a group of other young Australians in a double-decker bus. My impression from what he wrote is that he enjoyed it more in retrospect than he did at the time…
Huett is keeping Brosnan’s non-book material alive. There’s a PDF collection that can still be downloaded for free from eFanzines. More recently Dave Langford asked Huett to put together a new, even larger version, which can be downloaded for free here.
(8) CANDLE TIME. Steven H Silver celebrates another author with “Birthday Reviews: Jonathan Lethem’s ‘Lostronaut’” at Black Gate.
…Lethem won the World Fantasy Award for his collection The Wall of the Sky, the Wall of the Eye. He has been nominated for the Nebula Award four times, the James Tiptree, Jr. Award three times, and the Shirley Jackson Award, Sidewise Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award one time, each. His novel Gun, with Occasional Music received the William L. Crawford Award and won the Locus Poll for best first novel….
(9) NEW TWIST ON PARK MAPS. Mental Floss reports “A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style”:
Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports
Click here to see his impressive Yellowstone National Park map.
(10) HUGO RECS. Strange at Ecbatan’s Rich Horton wrapped up his Hugo recommendations with “Final 2018 Hugo Recommendation Post” – Semiprozine, Fancast, Best Related Work, Professional Artist.
The others in the series are:
(11) FILLING IN SOME BLANKS. Mark Kaedrin also shares his picks for “Hugo Award Season 2018”, beginning with —
The nomination period for the 2018 Hugo Awards is open, so it’s time to get out the vote before the requisite whining and bitter recriminations start in earnest. I’ve read a bunch of eligible works, but of course not all will make the cut. Here’s where I’m at right now:
- The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland (Novel)
- The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi (Novel)
- All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (Novella)
- The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (novella)
- Uncanny Valley by Greg Egan (Novelette)
- Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee (Novelette)
(12) CHOCOLATE CHAMPS. Congratulations to Filer Daniel P. Dern for scoring second in Boskone 55’s Chocolate for Trivia event.
CHOCOLATE TRIVIA SCORES
Bob Devney 52
Dan Dern 44
Tim Liebe 27
Peter Turi 23
(13) QUICKER SIPPER. Charles Payseur is back with “Quick Sips – Shimmer #41 [February stuff]”.
The stories from Shimmer Magazine’s February offerings excel in coming from interesting viewpoints. From ghosts of boys who never were and never should have been to bags full of dreams and magic, the character work here involves narrators whose primary function is to accompany someone else. In that these are two excellently paired stories that highlight the ways in which these companions, these burdens, these people relate to those who carry them. And the stories offer two widely different takes on that theme, one of the narrators kind and helpful and loving and the other…well, not so much. The stories show just how much these presences can help the people carrying them, and just how much they can hurt as well. To the reviews!
(14) GUITAR CITY. A popular movie has paid off in more than one way: “A Town In Mexico Sees Guitar Sales Soar Thanks To The Movie ‘Coco'”.
Real-life sales of guitars like Miguel’s guitar have soared thanks to the movie. And not just in U.S. stores. A small town in Mexico’s western highlands, famous for its generation of guitar makers, is also enjoying a Coco boon.
Paracho, in the state of Michoacán, is the former home of the very guitar maker who helped design the instrument seen in the film.
(15) NOT EXACTLY THE AGE OF AQUARIUS. A marker for the beginning of the Anthropocene: “‘Loneliest tree’ records human epoch”.
It’s been dubbed “the loneliest tree on the planet” because of its remote location, but the Sitka spruce might represent something quite profound about the age in which we live.
The tree, sited on Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean, records in its wood a clear radioactive trace from the A-bomb tests of the 1950s and 60s.
As such, it could be the “golden spike” scientists are seeking to define the start of the Anthropocene Epoch – a new time segment in our geological history of Earth.
The suggestion is that whatever is taken as the golden spike, it should reflect the so-called “Great Acceleration” when human impacts on the planet suddenly intensified and became global in extent.
This occurs after WWII and is seen for example in the explosion in plastics production.
(16) THE GANG’S ALL HERE. It’s 1963 and producer Roger Corman turns to Poe for his forty-seventh movie. Galactic Journey tells whether it’s worth seeing: “[February 18, 1963] An Odd Beast (Roger Corman’s The Raven)”.
The Raven hit theaters last month not so much to terrify audiences, but to reel them in with a star studded cast and a light, Edgar Allan Poe-flavored, fantasy comedy story. Starring Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre and Hazel Court, the film is very loosely based around the narrative Edgar Allan Poe poem by the same name. By this I mean that Hazel Court is, of course, the sassy and longed-for Lenore, and Vincent Price quotes segments of the poem. There the similarities end.
(17) A BETTER USE FOR THAT MONEY. K. Tempest Bradford argues her fundraiser is a bargain at half the price.
Jon Del Arroz wants $10,000 to sue Worldcon for banning him.
I only want $5,000 to go to Egypt and make awesome steampunk novels. https://t.co/ZMwNLPQWwl
— K Tempest "#WakandaForever" Bradford (@tinytempest) February 20, 2018
(18) SPEAKING UP. Sophie Aldred gives Uncanny Magazine readers a captivating account of “My Voice-Over Life”.
Sophie Aldred has been working as a professional actress, singer, and director for the last 35 years in theatre, TV, film and audio. She is perhaps best known as the 7th Doctor Who’s companion, Ace, who beat up a Dalek with a baseball bat….
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to read stories to her brother. She liked to put on funny voices for all the different characters and found that she was rather good at mimicking accents and odd vocal characteristics. Sometimes her brother would beg her to stop reading as he had had enough; sometimes she listened.
The little girl also liked listening to the radio programmes that her Mummy had on in the kitchen while she was making supper for Daddy who came in hungry and tired from the office (it was the 1960’s after all). Although she didn’t understand any of the so-called jokes, she loved a man called Kenneth Williams, whose strangulated vocal gymnastics she tried to imitate, and another one called Derek Nimmo, who you could tell was rather vague and very posh just by the tone of his voice….
(19) I SEE FOUR JELLYBEANS! A psychiatrist in a mental hospital has a disturbing conversation with one of his patients, a brilliant mathematician, in the SF short film The Secret Number by Colin Levy.
[Thanks to JJ, Will R., John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, John Picacio, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rev. Bob .]
Jon Del Arroz, who last month was banned from attending this year’s Worldcon in San Jose, has created a GoFundMe titled “Make WorldCon Great Again” which explains:
… In January 2018, WorldCon, the premier science fiction writers convention, openly discriminated against libertarians and conservatives in the field by banning Jon Del Arroz, a popular Hispanic science fiction writer, in an unprecedented move because he is outspoken political figure. Their claim was that Del Arroz “intended to violate their code of conduct.”
Del Arroz is asking donors for $10,000 to fund a lawsuit in retaliation:
Pursuing his rights on his behalf and for others who may be discriminated against on similar grounds will be expensive. Filing the lawsuit will cost around $1,000 and if there are depositions, motions, or experts, it could cost more than $10,000. It’s a lot of money to be able to exercise rights to speak without fear of illegal retaliation and discrimination and to associate with other members of the science fiction community and writing peers, but it needs to be done so others in the future can speak safely.
Please help Jon Del Arroz in his fight for civil rights for libertarian-conservatives everywhere in these troubling times. As a thanks, everyone who donates will receive a free novella e-book as a thank you.
Curiously, although the GoFundMe was created a week ago, as of this moment it still has yet to receive its first donation.
In January, Worldcon 76 advised its staff to have no further discussion on Jon Del Arroz because attorneys were getting involved.
Now Del Arroz has started publicizing his lawsuit threat by contacting writers, even (or perhaps especially) those that have criticized his past record of harassment. A. Merc Rustad received a copy and posted this reaction:
*sighs* and in SFF field DRAMA…did anyone else get a mass email from JdA about his fundraiser for a law suit?
In which he compares himself being banned from WorldCon as equivalent THE ENTIRE GAY RIGHTS MOVEMENT?
— A. Merc Rustad (@Merc_Rustad) February 19, 2018
I FORGOT TO TELL YOU THE BEST PART.
The subject line reads: Civil Rights: Worldcon Must Bake My Cake
…i can't make this shit up. https://t.co/B6IVwfBbAQ
— A. Merc Rustad (@Merc_Rustad) February 19, 2018
(1) FIVE FAVORITES. Uncanny Magazine released its 2017 Favorite Fiction Reader Poll Results. Six stories made the Top Five – now that’s uncanny!
3- IS A TIE!!!
(2) BANKS ART BOOK COMING. Did you know Iain M. Banks could draw, too? “Orbit announces the publication of original Culture drawings from the Estate of Iain M. Banks”.
Original drawings by Iain M. Banks, author of the hugely popular Culture novels, will be included in a book that celebrates the author’s vision of the Culture universe. The previously unseen drawings, most of which are annotated by the author, and many of which predate the writing of the novels themselves, will be curated by the Estate of Iain M. Banks and Iain’s life-long friend and science fiction writer Ken MacLeod. With additional commentary by MacLeod, further notes on the Culture, and extracts from the Culture novels, the book will provide a unique insight into the Culture, including its history, language, technology, philosophy and values.
(3) KEEP THE HONOR IN GOH. Seanan McGuire has spot-on advice for conrunners about GoH invitations and etiquette. Jump on the thread here —
Because this (and versions of this) gets asked all the time:
I go where I am invited. I don't (usually) charge an appearance fee, but I'm a full-time author; I can only afford travel that's subsidized in some way, usually by a convention.
— Seanan McGuire (@seananmcguire) February 13, 2018
(4) WOMBAT IN DEMAND. A gig at Anthrocon is in her future.
— Anthrocon, Inc. (@anthrocon) February 13, 2018
(5) THE WAY TO SAN JOSE. John Picacio revealed more recipients of Mexicanx Initiative sponsored Worldcon memberships.
Proudly announcing #TheMexicanxInitiative's next wave of Sponsored Membership Recipients to @worldcon2018! cc: @sillysarasue @DavidOBowles @gabrielintica @AdelanteArts @jencerv @LoboRafagas @TanyaLealSoto. @scalzi @MaryRobinette @KateElliottSFF @JamesSACorey More TBA next week! pic.twitter.com/N3tafYk1u6
— John Picacio (@JohnPicacio) February 12, 2018
(6) THE SCHOOL OF BAD EXAMPLES. Diana Pharaoh Francis tells how to learn craftsmanship in “The Classroom of Dissatisfaction” at Book View Café.
Likewise, he’s never noticed her and suddenly she’s his ‘mate.’ (This is a shifter story). He’s apparently been dreaming about her and even though he’s known her previously, never paid attention to her. But what bothers me is that when he realizes he has to work to win her affections, he doesn’t stop to consider what their relationship has been, how they’ve interacted before, and why she might not like him.
The more I read, the less I’m convinced that their attraction is real instead of shoehorned into a situation without enough attention to actually building a believable foundation.
So what do I learn from this? Well, stuff I already knew. The motivations have to be believable. The character interactions have to be genuine and real. That readers want to stick with the story but won’t waste their time if there are significant cracks in it. But I also learned that you can have things in the story that will pull a reader along despite problems. That a reader *wants* to like the characters and will be fairly forgiving if you just smooth out the road a little.
I’ve read books that I wanted to put down because of the problems, but I kept getting dragged along because *something* in the book demanded it. But then I get to the end and I have regrets that the book wasn’t executed better. And those regrets make me sad.
(7) STAR TREK DISCOVERY WITH SPOILERS. Looking ahead: “‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Producers on Season 1 Finale, and How Season 2 Will Be ‘What Trek Does Really Well’”.
According to “Star Trek: Discovery” co-showrunner Gretchen Berg, legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling is the reason why no major character dies in the season finale of “Star Trek: Discovery.”
“We worked on the original ‘Beverly Hills 90210,’” she told IndieWire, “And somebody was going to die or not going to die, and his attitude came back down that he didn’t want the person to die and I was like, ‘Why? Come on, that’s life!’”
Added Aaron Harberts, her co-showrunner, “The Mr. Spelling in me is always like, ‘You don’t kill a character! You just don’t. Because it’s good to be able to bring them back.’”
(8) CRIDER OBIT. Crime fiction writer Bill Crider died February 12 at the age of 72. Crider, who also won a 2015 Sidewise Award for his story “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” had entered hospice care in December.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
(11) MUSIC TO WRITE BY. Neil Gaiman has written an essay about ex-Pixies guitarist Kim Deal’s band The Breeders to celebrate their new album All Nerve:
The first time I heard of Kim Deal, it was because the co-owner of Dark Carnival, the bookstore in San Francisco I was signing in had been mistaken for her the night before by a waiter, who had taken her protestations that she was a bookshop person as a cover story and brought her and the people she was with, bookstore people whom he believed to be the rest of the Pixies, free drinks all night. I now knew a band called the Pixies existed.
I owned a tiny black and white television that sat on the corner of my desk, and kept me company when I wrote, all alone, too late at night, playing badly dubbed European Detective shows, late night rock shows, cheap television. Somewhere in 1989 it played a Pixies video. A week later I had every Pixies CD you could find in London record shops. I loved the aesthetic as much as the music: the Vaughn Oliver art and typefaces.
Information scarcity. I didn’t know who these people were. I was 29 years old, writing Sandman, in England, with two small children. I bought the CD of Pod, and I wrote Sandman to the jangly Breeders music.
(12) PRO TIP. From Sarah Gailey:
An important part of the writing process is taking edit notes with grace and professionalism pic.twitter.com/wOhkB5ffWW
— Sarah Gailey (@gaileyfrey) February 12, 2018
(13) SEVENTIES WOMEN SFF WRITERS. James Davis Nicoll is back with “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, Part II” at Tor.com. First up —
Gearhart may be best known now for her political activism and her decades of scholarly work. The Sally Miller Gearhart Chair in Lesbian Studies at the University of Oregon is named for her. SF fans unacquainted with her work might do well start with The Wanderground, a novel about feminist separatism set in a near future. Any of you planning to write a feminist separatist novel (or found a separatist feminist community) might want to explore prior art, including Gearhart’s contributions.
(14) SCRIPTER AWARDS. SyFy Wire reports “Under His Eye The Handmaid’s Tale wins yet another award”.
On Saturday night, the 30th annual Scripter Awards were hosted at the University of Southern California. The Scripter Awards are given out annually honoring adaptations of “printed word into film” and are awarded to both the original author and writer of the screenplay. The pilot episode of Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale won in the television category with writer Bruce Miller, who is also the creator and executive producer of the show, picking up the award.
(15) OPEN FIELD. Diane Duane is one writer unaffected by last year’s version of Best Series, as she explains in “2018 Hugo Award eligibility: for those who were asking”.
First of all: the 2017 e-publication* of Interim Errantry 2: On Ordeal means that the Young Wizards series is once again eligible for Hugo consideration. In 2017 this would have been because of the 2016 publication of Games Wizards Play, which made the series eligible for the Best Series one-time “special” Hugo awarded by Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. That, however, was a different award from the new Best Series Hugo. (A distinction that apparently may make a difference for last year’s award finalists, if this year’s Hugo Administrator decides to rule out their nomination this year. But that’s hardly an issue for me.)
So — as confirmed here on the list of Best Series Hugo eligibles at File 770 — the Young Wizards series is eligible for nomination for the 2018 Best Series Hugo. Yay! …And if (as someone eligible to nominate) you feel inclined to nominate it, then I encourage you to do so.
(16) SECRET SFWA OPERATION CODENAMES REVEALED. The leak came right from the top!
This year I gave all my SFWA projects cool code names. So this year I'm working on FENRISTOOTH, DEATHFALCON, SCHEHEREZADE, BABELFISH, and PEEMONKEY. I'm really not sure what the last is but I named it after my cat.
— ?RainbowRiotRambo? (@Catrambo) February 11, 2018
(17) LIFE PRESERVER. The BBC, in “UK team set for giant Antarctic iceberg expedition”, tells about a team looking at life hidden over 100K years, now exposed by calving.
Scientists will set out in the next week to study an Antarctic realm that has been hidden for thousands of years.
A British Antarctic Survey-led team will explore the seabed ecosystem exposed when a giant iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017.
The organisation has also released the first video of the berg, which covers almost 6,000 sq km.
(18) USA TODAY’S TOP 100 SELLERS OF 2017. Here are the works of genre interest that made the top 100 books of the year, according to data from USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books list.
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
12. It by Stephen King
15. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
19. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
31. Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
32. 1984 by George Orwell
41. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
54. Goodnight Moon Board Book by Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd
55. Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss
57. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPré
59. The Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan
63. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling; art by Jim Kay
65. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book by Eric Carle
66. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
70. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
76. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
80. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King
86. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
92. The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
93. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
94. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
(19) THEY CAME FROM SPACE. SFF is the latest fashion — “Philipp Plein takes NY Fashion Week on snowy spaceship ride”.
Provocateur Philipp Plein descended on New York Fashion Week with a giant spaceship, silvery rock formations and Migos lighting up the crowd Saturday night as fake snow fell and covered the floor of a huge industrial space at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
And there were clothes. Skiwear mostly, lots emblazoned with Plein’s name, skulls and crossbones and some Playboy logos.
The show roared to life with a couple of motorcycle riders and a space utility vehicle that plowed through Plein’s fake wall of rocks. Later came a schmoozy transformer (big person in costume) who greeted Irina Shayk as she slinked out of the ship in a black bodysuit emblazoned with “I Love You Philipp Plein.”
(20) HUMANS EVOLVED. The Titan Official Trailer.
[Thanks to Mark Hepworth, JJ, Joel Zakem, Martin Morse Wooster, Rob Thornton, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Soon Lee, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]