Marvel Comics will honor Black History Month with a series of variant covers depicting their most prominent Black heroes. Today, Marvel revealed the additional covers that will make up February’s collection. A celebration of the legacy of Black heroes in Marvel Comics’ storytelling, these beautiful pieces of art will feature depictions of Storm, Black Panther, Miles Morales, Falcon, War Machine, Blade, Ironheart, and the new Valkyrie who recently appeared in King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries #1. These characters will be brought to life in the distinct style of rising star artist Ernanda Souza in her Marvel Comics debut.
“First of all, I have to say that working for Marvel is a huge dream come true. I grew up watching Marvel movies and TV shows—especially the X-Men animated series in the ’90s—and playing the whole Arcade franchise games. And to be honest, I never thought I would ever do work with them, but I’m glad to say I did,” Souza said. “As an Afro/Latin artist, it’s a big honor for me to start with the company and work on some of the characters I like and who represent the Black community. Representation with respect is always a good thing, there can never be too much. I know I can only speak for myself, but I hope I did them justice.”
Here is a complete list of Souza’s Black History Month variant covers available at local comic shops throughout the month of February.
Avengers #42 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
Black Panther #23 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
King In Black: Captain America #1 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
Champions #4 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
Iron Man #6 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries #3 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #23 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
X-Men #18 Black History Month Variant Cover By Ernanda Souza
(1) LISTEN TO THE PICNIC. Podside Picnic is the place hosts Podside Pete, Karlo Rodriguez and Connor Southard engage with and discuss science fiction, fantasy and horror media. In addition to their Patreon subscriber content, they also feature interviews with SFF authors that are available to non-subscribers at Podside Picnic on Soundcloud – sample links below.
Podside Picnic is a show mostly about science fiction and fantasy, but more importantly, it’s about two guys exploring stories. Pete is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan with 40 years of ravenous reading under his belt. Connor is a writer and recovering literary snob on a mission to learn about science fiction, fantasy, and all the genres in between.
We like the phrase “literature of the fantastic” to encompass what most interests us, but our interests morph as we continue this journey and learn from each other and from our audience and guests. Much of our focus is on what’s long been called “genre fiction,” especially science fiction and fantasy, but curiosity is more important to us than marketing lingo. We believe the future of storytelling lies in crossing traditional boundaries.
In which Pete and Connor are joined by a living legend of science fiction, Peter Watts. We discuss his contemporary classic novel Blindsight, but we also discuss love, legal misadventures, life itself… and sea cucumbers
(2) GOTHAM BOOK PRIZE. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin is a nominee for the inaugural Gotham Book Prize.
As the city comes through COVID-19 and enters a challenging period ahead, recognizing what makes it special and unique is more important than ever. The Gotham Book Prize is awarded once a year to the best book (works of fiction and nonfiction are eligible) published that calendar year that either is about New York City or takes place in New York City. The winner will receive $50,000. Selections will be reviewed by an independent jury with the winner selected by the prize’s co-founders/ funders.
Jemisin’s book and Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind are the lone two works of genre interest among the 10 nominees.
(3) THE HELLUO YOU SAY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Wikipedia word of the day [24 January GST] is helluo librorum : (literary, archaic) An insatiable and obsessive bookworm (“avid book reader”). Here’s an example of the term used in a sentence:
[1720, [attributed to Jonathan Swift], The Right of Precedence between Phisicians and Civilians Enquir’d into, Dublin: […] [J. Gowan] for John Hyde […], and Robert Owen […], OCLC1227582291, page 16:
[A] Writers Stomach, Appetite, and Victuals, may be judg’d from his Method, Stile, and Subject, as certainly as if you were his Mess-fellow, and sat at Table with him. Hence we call a Subject dry, a Writer insipid, Notions crude, and indigested, a Pamphlet empty or hungry, a Stile jejune, and many such like Expressions, plainly alluding to the Diet of an Author, and I make no manner of doubt but Tully [i.e., Cicero] grounded that saying of Helluo Librorum upon the same Observation.]
…Through its most favored nation clauses with the Big Five, Amazon has required, and the companies have agreed to grant, “prices, terms, and conditions equal to or better” than those offered to the defendant’s competitors. Moreover, Amazon mandates that it be notified about such terms, a requirement that serves to restrict discounts to consumers and stifle innovation in the trade e-book market, the suit claims.
“Once notified of the availability of its co-conspirators’ e-books at lower prices, Amazon typically ‘requested’ that they charge the same prices on Amazon. If publishers did not comply, Amazon retaliated or threatened to retaliate by disabling purchases for one or several of the publisher’s e-books on its platform, by excluding the publisher’s e-books from all promotional activity, by removing the pre-order buttons for the publisher’s e-books, or by prominently displaying banners for other publishers’ e-books.”
The contractual requirements laid out by Amazon prevent “actual and potential retail competitors from introducing alternative business models, offering promotional advantages, or offering customers lower prices on their own,” the complaint says, summarizing that the agency price model in which Amazon and the Big Five operate has contractually obligated the publishers to more or less do what Amazon says with regard to setting prices or offering discounts.
Further, whereas one would think readers would benefit from the cost reductions related to the low printing and distribution expenses of e-books when compared to printed texts, the high commissions and other costs Amazon charges to publishers all but wipe out those savings, the complaint summarizes:
“Amazon increases the cost of selling e-books by tying its distribution services (e.g., helping consumers find and purchase e-books on the Amazon platform, processing payments, delivering e-books) to its advertising services, which are designed to optimize the placement of advertisements to consumers on its online platform. Amazon further raises the Big Five’s selling costs by manipulating e-book ‘discovery tools to make a publisher’s books difficult to find without the purchase of advertising or refuses distribution unless the publisher also purchases advertising.’”
(5) RESISTANCE IN RUSSIA. In the Washington Post, Robyn Dixon interviews Dmitry Glukhovsky, author of “a cult dystopian sf trilogy” beginning with Metro 2033, who said he was opposed to the Kremlin’s efforts to murder dissident Alexei Navalny and to suppress all opposition to Putin. “Kremlin warns Russians against pro-Navalny protests, drawing pushback”.
The first novel in Glukhovsky’s dystopian science fiction trilogy, “Metro 2033,” set in the Moscow Metro in a post-apocalyptic world, tells a dark story of fascistic leaders who construct a big lie to fool people to keep them trapped underground after a nuclear holocaust. He said he was not a particular Navalny supporter but that it was impossible to ignore the authoritarian turn after what he called “a chain of murderous poisonings,” not only of Navalny but of other Kremlin critics.
For as many foes as the superhero fends off, Batman has a formidable team of supporters starting with his sidekick Robin, Gotham City Commissioner James Gordon and his ever-loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth.
But one of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent supporters lies not in a comic book, but in the US Senate, and he’s known the Bat for more than 80 years.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont and the longest-serving member of the current Senate, is a Batman aficionado who’s turned his fandom into philanthropy. He’s even used the comics to forward his legislative agenda.
Now President pro tempore of the Senate, Leahy is third in the presidential line of succession. Though it’s unlikely he’ll ever have to serve as President, his high-profile position shines a brighter light on his colorful resume — which includes multiple appearances in the “Batman” films….
Leahy’s first foray into screen acting — something he does strictly when Batman is involved — came in 1995, when he appeared in the critically reviled “Batman Forever.” The same year, he voiced a character billed as “Territorial Governor” in “Batman: The Animated Series.”
Since then, Leahy has appeared in nearly as many “Batman” films as the Caped Crusader himself. He usually appears as a scowling politician (though in “Batman & Robin,” which his son Mark also had a cameo in, he was allowed to enjoy a raucous party). He even met an explosive end as the curiously named Senator Purrington in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
(7) SIERRA OBIT. Actor Gregory Sierra (1937-2021) died January 4. Best known for non-genre TV roles in Barney Miller and Sanford and Son, his genre credits included TV’s The Flying Nun, Mission: Impossible, Greatest American Hero, The X-Files, and the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and Honey I Blew Up The Kid. He also appeared in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit scripted by Ray Bradbury.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born January 23, 1729 – Clara Reeve. Reading Latin and Greek “at an age when few … of either sex can read their names” (W. Scott, Lives of the Eminent Novelists and Dramatists p. 545, 1870). Two dozen books, including Plans of Education about women; The Progress of Romance a history of prose; The Old English Baron for us, an early Gothic novel influencing Mary Shelley. Managed her own career rather than rely on male relations to do it for her. (Died 1807) [JH]
Born January 23, 1923 — Walter M. Miller Jr. He’s best remembered for A Canticle for Leibowitz, the only novel he published in his lifetime. Terry Bisson would finish off the completed draft that he left of Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, a sequel of sorts to the first novel. He did a fair amount of short fiction as well. He’s poorly represented both from the usual suspects and in the dead tree sense as well beyond A Canticle for Leibowitz. (Died 1996.) (CE)
Born January 23, 1935 – Tom Reamy. First-rate fanzines Trumpet, Nickelodeon. MidAmericon Program Book (34th Worldcon). Co-founded first SF club in Texas; with the Benfords, brought first SF con to Texas, Southwestercon VI. One novel, a score of shorter stories; I have somewhere his collection San Diego Lightfoot Sue (title novelette won a Nebula), just thinking of which still gives me the chills. Campbell Award (as it then was). Reviews in Delap’s. Interviewed by Pat Cadigan and Arnie Fenner in Shayol 1. Novella sold to Last Dangerous Visions. Here is his cover for Trumpet 1. (Died 1977) [JH]
Born January 23, 1939 – Greg & Tim Hildebrandt (Greg, age 82; Tim, died 2006). Did much together, like this and this and this. Here is their cover for City of a Thousand Suns. Here is Greg’s Peter Pan. Here is The Fantasy Art Techniques of TH. One novel, five dozen covers, six dozen interiors together; forty covers, a hundred thirty interiors by Greg; ninety covers, two hundred sixty interiors by Tim. Greg, Lifetime-Achievement Chesley; Tim, Best-Artist World Fantasy Award; both, Society of Illustrators’ Gold Medal. [JH]
Born January 23, 1943 — Gil Gerard, 78. Captain William “Buck” Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century which I fondly remember as a really a truly great SF series even if it really wasn’t that great. He also shows up in the very short lived E.A.R.T.H. Force as Dr. John Harding, and he’s General Morgenstern in Reptisaurus, a movie title that proves someone had a serious lack of imagination regarding titles that day. In Bone Eater, a monster film that Bruce Boxleitner also shows up in as Sheriff Steve Evans, he plays Big Jim Burns, the Big Bad. Lastly I’d like to note that he got to play Admiral Sheehan in the “Kitumba” episode of fan-created Star Trek: New Voyages. (CE)
Born January 23, 1944 — Rutger Hauer. Roy Batty In Blade Runner, of course, but did you know he was Lothos In Buffy the Vampire Slayer? That I’d forgotten. He’s also William Earle in Batman Begins, Count Dracula himself in Dracula III: Legacy, Captain Etienne Navarre in Ladyhawke, the very evil John Ryder in The Hitcher, Abraham Van Helsing in Dracula 3D, King Zakour in, and no I didn’t know they’d done this film, The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and finally let’s note his involvement in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as President of the World State Federation. (Died 2019.) (CE)
Born January 23, 1964 — Mariska Hargitay, 57. Did you know she’s the daughter of Jayne Mansfield? I certainly didn’t. Her first film appearance was as Donna in Ghoulies which is a seriously fun film. Later genre creds are limited but include playing Marsha Wildmon in the Freddy’s Nightmares – A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series. She also plays Myra Okubo in the Lake Placid film and voices Tenar in Tales from Earthsea. (CE)
Born January 23, 1950 — Richard Dean Anderson, 71. Unless you count MacGyver as genre which I can say is open to debate, his main and rather enduring genre role was as Jack O’Neill in the many Stargate Universe series. Well, Stargate SG-1 really as he only briefly showed up on Stargate Universe and Stargate Atlantis whereas he did one hundred and seventy-three episodes of SG-1. Wow. Now his only other SF role lasted, err, twelve episodes in which he played Enerst Pratt alias Nicodemus Legend in the most excellent Legend co-starring John de Lancie. Yeah I really liked it. And damn it should’ve caught on. (CE)
Born January 23, 1954 – Craig Miller, age 67. Ray Bradbury suggested he join LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society). Of course I put that first, what Website do you think this is? CM soon earned the LASFS’ Evans-Freehafer Award (service). Co-chaired Equicon ’74, Westercon 28, L.A.con II the 42nd Worldcon; chaired Loscon 12. Fan Guest of Honor, Westercon 41, Loscon 27 (with wife Genny Dazzo), Baycon 2006, Boskone 55. With Marv Wolfman co-created and produced Pocket Dragon Adventures. Memoir of work with Lucasfilms Star Wars Adventures. Three hundred television writer and producer credits. Writers Guild of America West’s Animation Writers Caucus Animation Writing Award. [JH]
Born January 23, 1962 – Hilary Robinson, age 59. A Manxman (the suffix -man is not masculine). Sixty books; radio, television. Gillard Gold Award for Religious Programming. Half a dozen short stories for us. Essays, letters, in Crystal Ship, Focus, Matrix. Patron of the Children’s University. Her story. [JH]
Born January 23, 1979 – Marko Djurdjevic, age 42. A Serb living in Germany. Penciller and concept artist. Here is The Marvel Art of MD. Here is a sketch of Batman. Here is a contribution to Mark Hay’s Poker-Themed Sketchbook. Here is The Examination. Here is Kang the Conqueror. Blogspot. [JH]
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Herman has the lowdown on those unexplained sightings.
(10) HOW SUPER ARE THEY? The Late Late Show with James Corden challenges Watchmen star and One Night In Miami director Regina King to a game of Superhero or Super Zero, in which she meets a lineup of six potential superheroes. After learning each character’s origin story, Regina must decide which are indeed real.“Which of These Are Real Superheroes? w/ Regina King”.
… The cereal, which is brought to you by General Mills, hasn’t gotten a secured release date yet, but it has popped up as a listed product on Walmart’s website. Quite similar to the original 1980’s Ghostbusters cereal box, this new rendition—which may not be the finalized version—displays the infamous Ghostbusters logo alongside a bowl of reddish-orange crunchy cereal pieces. And, just like the original version, it includes ghost and Silmer-shaped marshmallow pieces to add more sweet nostalgia to your morning.
… What the voice in the chopper knew, but Reeves didn’t, was that besides the wreckage of the ill-fated B-52, somewhere out there in the winter darkness lay what the military referred to as “broken arrows”—the remains of two 3.8-megaton thermonuclear atomic bombs. Each contained more firepower than the combined destructive force of every explosion caused by humans from the beginning of time to the end of World War II….
…Wormholes, thus, are the perfect way to bypass Einstein’s speed limit, and get your heroes and villains to travel the galaxy in a reasonable time frame. Plus, they allow for the element of time travel to enter the story, all without breaking any laws of physics.
So, the real question is: Can actual people take advantage of wormholes too? The answer is… maybe?
The first problem for any explorer determined to survey a wormhole is simply finding one. While Einstein’s work says they can exist, we don’t currently know of any. They may actually be impossible after all, forbidden by some deeper physics that the universe obeys, but we haven’t discovered.
The second issue is that, despite years of research, scientists still aren’t really sure how wormholes would work. Can any technology ever create and manipulate them, or are they simply a part of the universe? Do they stay open forever, or are they only traversable for a limited time? And perhaps most significantly, are they stable enough to allow for human travel?
Scientists in Taiwan noticed odd, L-shaped burrows in a set of rocks eight years ago. Since the rocks once sat on the Pacific Ocean floor, they thought the tunnels had been made by shrimp, or perhaps octopuses. But the shape and structure of the burrows didn’t match those made by such creatures, and the mystery lingered.
Now, it’s been solved: The architects behind the tunnels were 6-foot-long worms that lived about 20 million years ago, according to a study published this week. Fossil evidence helped the study authors figure out how these predators hunted and built their undersea lairs.
According to their research, the ancient marine worms would lay waiting under the sand for unsuspecting prey; then when fish passed by, the worms would lunge out of their burrows, snag the swimmers in their gaping maws, and drag the victims under the seafloor….
(15) HINDSIGHT HISTORY. Here’s a video curiosity – the cast of the 1945 Armed Forces short “Time To Kill” [YouTube] about the educational benefits offered by the Armed Forces Institute includes George Reeves, plus DeForest Kelley and Betty White making their film debuts.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “First Look: Tom Holland as Peter Parker in Web Slingers” on YouTube is a preview of a new Spider-Man ride coming to Disney’s California Adventure whenever the park is allowed to reopen.
[Thanks to Jeff Smith, John King Tarpinian, Elspeth Kovar, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, JJ, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jon Meltzer, with an assist from Orson Welles.]
Titan Comics announced that this April they will launch a brand-new series in the Doctor Who comics line featuring one of the Doctor’s darkest nemeses in Missy #1.
Following on from the huge success of the Doctor Who Comic crossover adventures, starring the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctors as they battled iconic villains like the Weeping Angels, Skithra, Sea Devils and Autons, this new story sees the series expand its horizons even further with the first appearance of the Twelfth Doctor’s arch-rival Missy (as played on TV by Michelle Gomez).
MISSY wages war on the Doctor, but this time she’s not alone! Can the combined brilliance of the Third and Twelfth Doctor avert her deadly scheme, or will she get her hands on a secret weapon capable of wreaking havoc on the universe? This special story, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Master’s first appearance, will feature more Doctors and Masters than ever before.
This new series will also see the return of the critically acclaimed creative team behind the Doctor Who comics with Eisner-nominated writer Jody Houser (Stranger Things, Spider-Man), illustrator Roberta Ingranata (Witchblade), and colorist Enrica Angiolini(Warhammer 40,000).
For writer Jody Houser, this upcoming arc has been a long time coming: “I wrote a few pages of Missy way back in The Road to Thirteen, and I’ve been dying to write more of her ever since. Her ineffable cunning and sense of fun make her the most delightful sort of monster.”
Missy #1 will debut with a selection of amazing variant covers, including the first of a stunning four-part Masters connected cover set by Claudia Caranfa featuring Michelle Gomez, John Simm, Roger Delgado and Sacha Dhawan as well as a cover by the fan-favorite artist David Busian(Star Wars Adventures).
Doctor Who: Missy #1 hits stores and digital devices April 2021. Pre-order the comic ahead of its release in April 2021 (February Diamond Previews) from your local comic shop, from Forbidden Planet (UK & Europe), or digitally at Comixology.
Davis’s lawsuit bombastically attempts to assert that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president and that a rightful heir to that office will someday return. Until then, the case foolishly argues that a federal judge might be able to appoint a group of “stewards” from the cabinet of former President Donald Trump to run most of the government from the White House. That should occur, the lawsuit lawlessly speculates, after the Secret Service escorts Biden and his wife out of the executive residence at the order of a federal judge.
“Gondor has no King,” the document says in its second paragraph, “to invoke a very appropriate quote from the J.R.R. Tolkien epic classic, ‘Lord of the Rings.’”
A footnote explains the analogy:
During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful King of Gondor had abandoned the throne. Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as “Aragorn,” occurred at the end of the story. This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington, D.C., a group of individuals calling themselves the President, Vice President, and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American People. Accordingly, as set forth in the Proposed Temporary Restraining Order, as a remedy the Court should appoint a group of special masters (the “Stewards”) to provide a check the power of the illegitimate President until this Constitutional Crisis can be resolved through a peaceful legal process of a Preliminary Injunction Hearing and a jury trial on the merits.
…A cascade of similar images soon followed. The art historian Michael Lobel made a version in which Sanders inside a moody café from Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks—itself the subject of one of the more memorable Covid-era memes—and others placed the senator within iconic works by Sandro Botticelli, Vincent van Gogh, ASCO, Joseph Beuys, and Georges Seurat. (A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte with Bernie, anyone?) There was even a version where Sanders appeared seated atop a stylite column that appeared first in a 5th century Byzantine manuscript.
But no version of the newest Sanders joke proved more memorable than one created by the writer R. Eric Thomas, who inset him facing Marina Abramovi? for one famous performance that appeared at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010. MoMA picked it up, tweeting, “Bernie is present.” Something about Thomas’s rendition may help explain its charm. In most pictures of The Artist Is Present, Abramovi?’s steely eyes meet her viewer, almost daring anyone who sits before to look away. But in the meme version, Sanders looks away from her, his eyes cast toward the floor. In this meme, there seems to be a willful disregard of something that was construed by many as being great—an anti-establishment spirit that befits Sanders’s own views.
… On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein said that forcing Amazon to get Parler back online goes against the public interest, given “the kind of abusive, violent content at issue in this case, particularly in light of the recent riots at the U.S. Capitol.”
“That event was a tragic reminder that inflammatory rhetoric can — more swiftly and easily than many of us would have hoped — turn a lawful protest into a violent insurrection,” she wrote. “The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in.”
Amazon welcomed the judge’s ruling. In a statement, the company issued a rejoinder to critics who have said Amazon infringed on Parler’s First Amendment rights when it suspended Parler’s account.
“This was not a case about free speech,” the statement said. “It was about a customer that consistently violated our terms of service by allowing content to be published on their website that actively encouraged violence (and without an effective plan to moderate it).” …
… The threat is the latest and most intense in a long-running battle that has pitted Australian lawmakers and news organizations against U.S.-based tech giants Google and Facebook. For years, news organizations in Australia have argued they should be paid when Internet companies aggregate news stories on their websites. Google and Facebook say their sites help people find news, and the resulting traffic to news websites is valuable on its own.The proposed media law would force the tech companies to negotiate with media companies on payments for previewing and linking to their content. If they can’t reach a deal, a government regulator would step in to set the rates. That arrangement is untenable, Mel Silva, the head of Google in Australia and New Zealand, said in prepared testimony released ahead of the hearing Friday. …The idea that Google should pay for showing news in its search results is not new. In Spain, Google shut down its news aggregation website in 2014 after the country passed a law requiring online platforms that profit off news links to share their revenue with media companies. Just this week, Google agreed to negotiate payments to French publishers.
In the United States, Google is facing multiple federal and state antitrust lawsuits that allege the company has used its domination of online search to benefit its other businesses and push out competitors.
“It seems very peculiar to me that effectively Google wants to blackmail Australian consumers and policymakers with threats to go ahead and leave this jurisdiction when these discussions are happening all around the world, including in the U.S. itself,” Australian Sen. Andrew Bragg said during the Senate hearing, which was broadcast remotely.
A surprising lawsuit involving the seminal writers of the Dragonlance novels and the parent company of Dungeons & Dragons has seemingly ended. Last week, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, the primary authors behind the popular Dragonlance novels, filed to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit against Wizards of the Coast. Weis and Hickman filed the lawsuit in US District Court earlier this year, alleging that Wizards of the Coast breached a licensing contract to write a trilogy of new Dragonlance books by informing the pair’s publisher that they were no longer moving forward with the books without explanation. The duo, who claimed that a Dragonlance novel was already completed and that substantial work had begun on a second book, sought up to $10 million in damages in the initial lawsuit.
The filing noted that Wizards of the Coast had not formally answered their lawsuit, nor had they filed for a summary judgement. As Weis and Hickman filed for a dismissal without prejudice, the duo could hypothetically re-file their lawsuit at a later date.
(6) QUESTION TIME. Octothorpe is a podcast from John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty about science fiction and SF fandom. In episode 23, “A Lot of Foreshadowing”, the three “discuss the recent debate over the Hugo Awards and DisCon III’s approach to the same, before touching on some upcoming fannish events.” One segment is provocatively titled, “Are the Hugos a massive cankerous boil on the Worldcon that just needs to be completely purged?”
(7) FURLAN OBIT. Actress Mira Furlan, who gained fame playing Delenn on Babylon 5 and Danielle Rousseau on Lost, died January 20 at the age of 65. The Variety tribute is here.
… We’ve known for some time now that Mira’s health was failing…I’m not sure that this is the right time or place to discuss the sheer randomness of what happened…and have all been dreading this day. We kept hoping that she would improve. In a group email sent to the cast a while back, I heard that she might be improving.
Then came the call from Peter Jurasik. “I wanted you to know that Goran’s bringing Mira home,” he said.
“Do you mean, he’s bringing her home as in she’s better now, or is he bringing her home as in he’s bringing her home?”
“He’s bringing her home, Joe,” Peter said, and I could hear the catch in his voice as he said it.
And as a family, we held our counsel, and began the long wait, which has now ended.
Mira was a good and kind woman, a stunningly talented performer, and a friend to everyone in the cast and crew of Babylon 5, and we are all devastated by the news. The cast members with whom she was especially close since the show’s end will need room to process this moment, so please be gentle if they are unresponsive for a time. We have been down this road too often, and it only gets harder.
…We have lost a light in our galaxy, but another has gained one. I will miss our talks, our laughs, our deep discussions about Hollywood and life. I will miss our dinners and trips abroad. I will miss the way her eyes sparkled when she smiled. I will miss her captivating voice and contagious laughter. I will miss sharing with her one of the most gratifying experiences of my life: the relationship between Sheridan and Delenn.
(8) SAUNDERS APPRECIATION. The New York Times obituary of the famous fantasy writer has appeared: “A Black Literary Trailblazer’s Solitary Death: Charles Saunders, 73”. He died last May, and as reported here on January 1, had been buried in an unmarked grave until friends raised money for a headstone. The Times has an extensive obituary with photos and book covers.
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAYS.
January 22, 1984 — Airwolf premiered on CBS where it would run for three seasons before moving to USA for a fourth season. Airwolf was created by Donald P. Bellisario who also created Quantum Leap and Tales of The Golden Monkey, two other great genre series. It starred Jan-Michael Vincent, Jean Bruce Scott. Ernest Borgnine, Alex Cord and Jean Bruce Scott. It airs sporadically in syndication and apparently has not developed enough of a following to get a Rotten Tomatoes rating.
January 22, 2000 — Cleopatra 2525 first aired in syndication. It was created by R.J. Stewart and Robert G. Tapert. Many who aired it do so as part of the Back2Back Action Hour, along with Jack of All Trades. The primary cast of this SF with chicks not wearing much series was Gina Torres of later Firefly fame, Victoria Pratt and Jennifer Sky. (A sexist statement? We think you should take a look at the show.) it would last two seasons and twenty episodes, six episodes longer than Jack of All Trades. (Chicks rule?) it gets a 100% rating by its audience reviewers at a Rotten Tomatoes though the aggregate critics score is a much lower 40%.
Born January 22, 1906 — Robert E. Howard. He’s best remembered for his characters Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane, less so for Kull, and is widely regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. His Cthulhu mythos stories are quite good. I believe all of these were published in Weird Tales. If you’re interested in reading him on your slate, you’re in luck as all the usual suspects are deep stockers of him at very reasonable prices. (Died 1936.) (CE)
Born January 22, 1925 – Katherine MacLean. Five novels, fifty shorter stories. One Nebula. Guest of Honor at WisCon 1. Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. Interviewed in NY Review of SF. (Died 2019) [JH]
Born January 22, 1934 — Bill Bixby. Principal casting in several genre series, first in My Favorite Martian as Tim O’Hara, a young newspaper reporter for the LA Sun who discovers that alien, and then as Dr. David Banner in The Incredible Hulk series, and in both The Incredible Hulk Returns and The Death of the Incredible Hulk films. He shows up in a number of other genre series including Fantasy Island, Tales of the Unexpected, Night Gallery, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir and The Twilight Zone (original version). He also had the lead as Anthony Blake / Anthony Dorian in The Magician seriesbut as he was a stage illusionist, I couldn’t count it as genre… (Died 1993.) (CE)
Born January 22, 1940 — John Hurt. I rarely grieve over the death of one individual but his death really hurt. I liked him. It’s rare that someone comes along like Hurt who is both talented and is genuinely good person that’s easy to like. If we count his role as Tom Rawlings in The Ghoul, Hurt had an almost fifty year span in genre films and series. He next did voice work in Watership Down where he voiced Hazel and The Lord of the Rings as the voice of Aragon before appearing as Kane, the first victim, in Alien. Though not genre, I must comment his role as Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man — simply remarkable. He had the lead as Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four and had a cameo as that character in Spaceballs. He narrates Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound and will later be one of two of the narrators of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. That role is simply magnificent. Ok, I’m just at 1994. He’s about to be S.R. Hadden in Contact. Did you remember he played Garrick Ollivander In Harry Potter films? You certainly remember him as Trevor Bruttenholm in the Hellboy films, all four of them in total. He’s in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as Dr. Harold Oxley, one of the few decent things about that film. Series wise, he’s been around. I’ve got him in Spectre, a Roddenberry occult detective pilot that I’ve not seen. On the Merlin live action series, he provides the voice of the Great Dragon. It’s an amazing role for him. And fitting that he’s a dragon, isn’t it? And of course he played The War Doctor. It, despite the brevity of the screen time, was a role that he seemed destined to play. Oh for an entire series of stories about His Doctor! Big Finish, the audiobook company, had the singular honor of having him flesh out his character in a series of stories that he did with them just before his death. I’ve heard some, they’re quite remarkable. If I’ve missed anything about him that you feel I should’ve touched upon, do tell me. (Died 2017.) (CE)
Born January 22, 1951 – Donna Ball, age 70. Eight novels for us as D. Boyd, Rebecca Flanders; ninety all told, with other pen names too. Award-winning dog trainer. [JH]
Born January 22, 1962 – Alison Spedding, Ph.D., age 59. Author and anthropologist. Three historical-fantasy novels; one science fiction in Spanish; three other novels in Spanish; shorter stories, a play, nonfiction. While living in Bolivia criticized the government; imprisoned, many fellow academics thinking it political; released on a surety. [JH]
Born January 22, 1972 – Stephen Graham Jones, Ph.D., age 49. Nine novels for us (about The Only Good Indians last year, which caught the attention of the NY Times Book Review, note that SGJ is himself Blackfeet), a dozen others; ninety shorter stories for us, two hundred others. Texas Institute of Letters Award. Stoker Award. Professor of English at Univ. Colorado, Boulder. See this from the ReaderCon 30 Program Book. Special Guest at World Fantasy Con 2020. [JH]
Born January 22, 1982 – Janci Patterson, age 39. A dozen novels for us, a score of others; some with co-authors including Brandon Sanderson. Customizes Barbie dolls, watches “reality” television. [JH]
Excellent letter by Jerry Siegel, creator of ”Superman”, thanking comic pioneer Sheldon Mayer for promoting the comic before it was published in ”Action Comics #1” in 1938. Dated 18 September 1941, letter reads in part, ”Dear Sheldon: I may be coming to New York inside a few weeks and I hope we can get together at that time and curse the comic business to our heart’s content.
Again I want to thank you for all you’ve done to help make SUPERMAN what it is. I’m very much afraid that if it weren’t for a chap named Sheldon Mayer, as far as syndication is concerned SUPERMAN might still be gathering dust, and Joe [Shuster] and I would be working for a living…[signed] Jerry”.
Sheldon Mayer was one of the first employees of the McClure Syndicate, headed by comics pioneer Maxwell Gaines. Although many have taken credit for discovering ”Superman”, this letter serves as ultimate confirmation that it was Mayer’s championing of the comic which led to its inclusion in ”Action Comics #1”.
(12) GUNN APPRECIATION. John Kessel has posted some of his correspondence with the late sf author and scholar James Gunn from 2018 on Facebook: showing the advice he gave about a recently published novella.
In the wake of sf writer James Gunn’s death in December, I’ve been thinking of him and what he meant to me. The publication of my novella “The Dark Ride” in this month’s F&SF reminded me that I had sent him a draft of the story and we had this correspondence about it, which helped me to shape the final version.
I thought I’d post these emails just to show how generous and engaged he was even in his late 90s. I’m so glad that I knew him….
Allegations [dating] to the earliest days of her tenure when she would reportedly put staff on the spot to quiz them on outer space, demanding they name every planet or correctly state the distance between the sun and the moon….
Payette was an astronaut before being appointed GG.
…And last year, CBC News reported that Trudeau’s office failed to check with Payette’s former employees during its vetting process. As it turned out, Payette had resigned from the Montreal Science Centre in 2016 following complaints of mistreatment of employees, according to the news outlet. She also left the Canadian Olympic Committee in 2017, the year she became governor general, after two internal probes into claims she had verbally harassed staff members.
…Later on, in perhaps the most exciting shot of the trailer (at least for me), we see Finn standing in a frozen forest. His eyes are steely, determined. He looks every inch the hero — defiant, ready. He turns on his lightsaber. Its blue glow leaps to life just as we see the villain Kylo Ren and his red lightsaber spitting hot energy from its hilt. All of that tension, all of that conflict, absolutely crackling with dramatic potential. Only for all of it to fizzle away in the three films that followed.
We started with a Black stormtrooper who becomes a conscientious objector, follows his moral compass and joins the rebels to risk his life in order to save the galaxy. Somewhere along the way, though, the filmmakers made that character boring. That’s why Star Wars fans are still so pissed at the great betrayal of Finn. It’s why his name was trending on Twitter on Tuesday, a full year after the final film of the newest trilogy was released in theaters.
That last point is key: Finn deserved better. Hell, we all deserved better. The “we” in this instance is Black sci-fi fans. We’ve had to live on some thin soup from Hollywood for far too long. (Although we do have to give a shout out to Star Trek for Capt. Sisko.) For Blerds like me, we held out a small hope that it might be different this time. That Star Wars might finally move on from its Victorian-Nazi melodrama past and embrace the diversity of our moment. Specifically, by creating a credible Black hero.
The first time Star Wars added a Black character, we got a space pimp. Lando Calrissian felt like he’d escaped from a Blaxploitation film or a 1970s malt liquor commercial. But at least he was cool — paper thin, but undeniably cool….
(15) DRAGON APATHY. Declan Finn complains that no one wants to talk about the Dragon Awards on his blog, in “Emerging Dragons”.
…But I am no longer going to ask for more suggestions. I’m not even going to try for a discussion this year. Why? Because every time I’ve done this, no one WANTS a discussion. Almost everyone who comes by drops a link in the comments going ME ME ME, and disappears.
With the exception of three or four people who are genuinely trying to have a conversation, the authors don’t even read the post. Literally. Two years ago, when I last tried this, I had people who came by, asking me to to add them to the list … and they didn’t realize they were already on it.
It was worse last year when I said “We’re not playing this game,” and people made the same request– proving that they didn’t bother to read the post.
(16) BENEFIT FROM EXPERIENCE. More encouragement to get the vaccine from the Governator. Followed on FB by comments from a legion of anti-vaxxers, naturally.
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The monologue on last night’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, starting around the 10:15 mark, has Colbert telling disillusioned Q-anon conspiracy theorists how to fill the void by taking up his own enthusiasm for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
(18) VIDEO OF A MUCH EARLIER DAY. “Steve Martin and Kermit The Frog In Dueling Banjos” on YouTube is a Funny or Die sketch from 2013, and come on, who doesn’t like Kermit The Frog or Steve Martin?
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Chris Rose, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael J. Walsh, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Jennifer Hawthorne, James Davis Nicoll, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Marvel has been teasing “Heroes Reborn” and plans to release more information next week. Meanwhile, they’ve gotten fans’ attention with this fascinating collection of artwork by Carlos Pacheco, with inks by Rafael Fontirez or Mariano Taibo (Coulson Teaser and Peter Parker Teaser) and colors by Matt Milla.
Green, Misha – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 1: “Sundown” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
Green, Misha and Ofordire, Ihuoma – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 8: “Jig-a-Bobo” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
James, Natalie Erika and White, Christian – Relic (AGBO, Film Constellation, IFC Midnight)
LaManna, Angela – The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Episode 5: “The Altar of the Dead” (Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Paramount Television Studios)
Weekes, Remi – His House (Regency Enterprises, BBC Films, Vertigo Entertainment, Starchild Pictures)
Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Borski, Robert – Carpe Noctem (Weird House Press)
Brandeis, Gayle – Many Restless Concerns (Black Lawrence Press)
Clarke, Cassandra Rose – Sacred Summer (Aqueduct Press)
Crum, Amanda – The Day You Learned To Swim (Self-Published)
Manzetti, Alessandro – Whitechapel Rhapsody: Dark Poems (Independent Legions Publishing)
McHugh, Jessica – A Complex Accident of Life (Apokrupha)
Murray, Ronald J. – Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower (Bizarro Pulp Press)
Pelayo, Cynthia – Into the Forest and All the Way Through (Burial Day Books)
Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Tantlinger, Sara – Cradleland of Parasites (Rooster Republic Press)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Bailey, Michael and Murano, Doug – Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors (Written Backwards)
Cagle, Ryan and Jenkins, James D. – The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 1 (Valancourt Books)
Flynn, Geneve and Murray, Lee – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Givens Kurtz, Nicole – Slay: Stories of the Vampire (Mocha Memoirs Press)
Kelly, Michael – Shadows & Tall Trees 8 (Undertow Publications)
Kolesnik, Samantha – Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror (Grindhouse Press)
Neal, David T. and Scott, Christine M. – The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror (Nosetouch Press)
Rector, Jeani and Wild, Dean H. – The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories (HellBound Books Publishing, LLC)
Tantlinger, Sara – Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror (Rooster Republic Press)
Yardley, Mercedes M. – Arterial Bloom (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Florence, Kelly and Hafdahl, Meg – The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films (Skyhorse)
Glasby, Matt – The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film (White Lion Publishing)
Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – 1000 Women in Horror (BearManor Media)
Keene, Brian – End of the Road (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Kerestman, Katherine – Creepy Cat’s Macabre Travels: Prowling Around Haunted Towers, Crumbling Castles, and Ghoulish Graveyards (WordCrafts Press)
Peirse, Alison – Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers University Press)
Stallings, Courtenay – Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks (Fayetteville Mafia Press)
Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press)
Wetmore, Jr. Kevin J. – The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption (McFarland)
Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction
Clasen, Mathias – “Why the World Is a Better Place with Stephen King in It: An Evolutionary Perspective” (Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture) (Springer)
Clasen, Mathias; Johnson, John; Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Jens; and Scrivner, Coltan – “Pandemic Practice: Horror Fans and Morbidly Curious Individuals Are More Psychologically Resilient during the Covid-19 Pandemic” (Personality and Individual Differences) (Elsevier)
Jackson Joseph, Rhonda – “The Beloved Haunting of Hill House: An Examination of Monstrous Motherhood” (The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation) (McFarland)
Pelayo, Cynthia – “I Need to Believe” (Southwest Review Volume 105.3)
Renner, Karen J. – “Degeneration through Violence: Stephen King’s Rage” (Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King) (Lexington Books)
Robinson, Kelly – “Hell is Other Mushroom People: Societal Decay in Matango” (Scary Monsters Magazine #117)
Robinson, Kelly – “Lost, Found, and Finally Unbound: The Strange History of the 1910 Edison Frankenstein” (Rue Morgue Magazine, June 2020)
Sng, Christina – “Final Girl: A Life in Horror” (Interstellar Flight Magazine, October 2020)
Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)
Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – “What is IT? Ambient Dead and Modern Paranoia in It (2017), It Follows (2014), and It Comes at Night (2017)” (Horror Studies v.11, no.2)
(1) 45 PROOF. [Item by Rich Lynch.] A couple of years ago, in SFPA, I ran an essay titled “Of Beer and the Beltway” which was reprinted in the current (25th) issue of My Back Pages.
In it, I mentioned that a local craft brewery, 7 Locks, was producing a Rye Pale Ale they had named “Surrender Dorothy”, the name a riff on The Wizard of Oz but also a homage to a stunt that happened at a Washington Beltway railroad bridge overpass back in the 1970s. Here’s what the beer’s logo looks like: Surrender Dorothy RyePA – 7 Locks Brewing
In that same issue of MBP, I noted that there had recently been modern day pranksters at work who had updated the “Surrender Dorothy” Beltway bridge stunt by spray-painting that same bridge with “Surrender Donald”. And now 7 Locks has produced a limited-run Rye PA with that same name: Surrender Donald 6-packs | 7 Locks Brewing Online Shop
I didn’t find out about it until today, when it was described in a short news item in The Washington Post. And since it was a limited run, it’s unfortunately no longer available. I see they have beer glasses with that logo listed, so I may try to get one of them. But damn! Wish I’d known about it before today!
(3) VIRTUAL CAPRICON. Capricon 41 begins two weeks from today. It’s usually in Chicago, but will be held this year in virtual space.
We have some really amazing program lined up for you, with awesome panelists from all over the world. Check out the full schedule at https://guide.capricon.org/. This is a mostly final schedule, but note that there may still be a few changes to times and panelists to come
Don’t Forget to Register! Everyone must register to access the virtual convention space. Register here.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is a fierce advocate of fair wages and a former presidential candidate who lost the Democratic nomination to now-President Biden. And thanks to his practical clothing choices he is also now the center of a seemingly endless flood of altered pictures that dominated some corners of the internet in the hours after Mr. Biden’s socially distanced inauguration on Wednesday.
Searchlight Pictures has updated its 2021 release calendar, dating Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” for December 3. The date puts del Toro’s latest in the thick of the 2021-2022 awards season. Searchlight appears to be following the same release plan it gave del Toro’s last movie, “The Shape of Water,” which started its U.S. theatrical rollout on the first weekend of December. “The Shape of Water” debuted at the Venice Film Festival, winning the Golden Lion, and it seems likely “Nightmare Alley” will show up on the fall film festival circuit.
Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley” is adapted by the filmmaker, and film critic Kim Morgan, from the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name. The ensemble cast includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, and David Strathairn…
(6) CASE IN POINT. The Hugo Book Club blog is going through all the Hugo-shortlisted dramatic presentations in order to see how the art of SFF cinema has evolved over time. The third post in the series is: “Hugo Cinema Club: 1960 Gets In The Zone”.
In 1960, for example, Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling seems to have been mostly unaware of the award until some two weeks later when a delegation of California-based fans who had just returned from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania visited the CBS offices to hand him a three-pound chrome rocketship on September 22.
The fans — including Bjo and John Trimble, Rick Sneary and Forrest J Ackerman — were greeted warmly by the television legend, who had also earned his fourth Emmy that summer….
(7) DISTAFF SUPERHEROES. The Women of Marvel podcast announced a special celebrating Marvel’s heroes will debut in April. Women Of Marvel #1 will spotlight iconic characters from the X-Men to the Avengers in a collection of tales by an all-female lineup from throughout the entertainment industry.
Kicking things off will be comics legend Louise Simonson with a must-read introduction. Simonson will be followed by some of the hottest rising stars in the graphic novel industry. Nadia Shammas punches the glass ceiling with an action-packed She-Hulk adventure, Elsa Sjunneson grits her way to the front line with a tale about Captain Peggy Carter, Sophie Campbell goes feral with a bone-grinding Marrow story, video game and comics writer Anne Toole gets gritty in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, and Natasha Alterici of Heathen fame charges sword-first into the Marvel Universe with a revelatory tale about Rogue and Mystique. With astonishing art from new and established artists Kei Zama (Transformers, Death’s Head), Eleonora Carlini (Power Rangers, Batgirl), Skylar Patridge (Resonant, Relics of Youth), Joanna Estep (Fantastic Four, Fraggle Rock) and more, readers are sure to come away powered up and ready to slay.
(8) MEMORY LANE.
2006 — Fifteen years ago at L.A.con IV, Serenity wins the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. Serenity was the film that finished off the story that started in the much beloved by fans Firefly series that aired briefly on FOX. Other finalists that year were Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Batman Begins and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It currently holds a phenomenal ninety-one percent rating among audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born January 21, 1858 – Anna Dodd. Short stories, novels, essays and other nonfiction e.g. criticism for The Art Journal, In and Out of Three Normandy Inns, Talleyrand. Fluent in French and Italian. Some say Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward was inspired by AD’s novel for us The Republic of the Future, subtitled Socialism a Reality, but it’s no joyous forecast. (Died 1929) [JH]
Born January 21, 1921 – Charles Eric Maine. A score of novels, as many shorter stories. Here is a cover for his fanzine The Satellite – not to be confused with this. Many applaud his Mind of Mr Soames. Also detective fiction, engineering, radio, television, film. (Died 1981) [JH]
Born January 21, 1923 – Judith Merril. Four novels, thirty shorter stories; book reviews for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; half a dozen collections e.g. The Best of JM and posthumous Homecalling; a dozen annual Year’s Best SF (“a practically flawless anthologist” – Anthony Boucher). Introduced and commented on Canadian broadcasts of Doctor Who. Co-founded Milford Writers’ Conference. Toronto Public Library’s Merril Collection named for her. SF Hall of Fame. (Died 1997) [JH]
Born January 21, 1925 — Charles Aidman. He makes the Birthday Honors for having the recurring role of Jeremy Pike on The Wild Wild West, playing him four times. Other SFF appearances include Destination Space, The Invaders, Twilight Zone, Mission: Impossible and Kolchak the Night Stalker to name but a few of them. (Died 1993.) (CE)
Born January 21, 1929 – Arthur Jean Cox. Two novels, a score of shorter stories. Active in his local club – a six-year string of perfect attendance at weekly meetings, eight terms as an officer – and cons e.g. Pacificon I the 4th Worldcon. Essays, letters, reviews in Amazing, Astounding, Fantasy Times, F & SF, Riverside Quarterly, SF Chronicle, SF Review. (Died 2016) [JH]
Born January 21, 1938 — Wolfman Jack. Here because I spotted him showing up twice in Battlestar Galactica 1980 presumably as himself if I trust IMDb as it doesn’t list a character for him. He does have genre character roles having been in the Swamp Thing and Wonder Women series plus two horror films, Motel Hell and The Midnight Hour. (Died 1995.) (CE)
Born January 21, 1939 — Walter C. DeBill, Jr., 82. An author of horror and SF short stories and a contributor to the Cthulhu Mythos. Author of the Observers of the Unknown series about a Lovecraftian occult detective which is collected is two volumes, The Horror from Yith and The Changeling. They don’t appear to be in print currently. (CE)
Born January 21, 1947 – Cherith Baldry, age 74. Sixty novels, seventy shorter stories, for us, some under different names; a dozen other books; plays; essays, letters, reviews in Banana Wings, Focus, Vector. [JH]
Born January 21, 1956 — Geena Davis, 65. Best remembered genre wise I’d say for being in Beetlejuice but she also appeared in Earth Girls Are Easy and Transylvania 6-5000. She’s done some one-offs on series including Knight Rider, Fantasy Island and The Exorcist. Yes, they turned The Exorcist into a series. (CE)
Born January 21, 1956 — Diana Pavlac Glyer, 65. Author whose work centers on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Inklings. She teaches in the Honors College at Azusa Pacific University in California. She has two excellent works out now, The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community and Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings. (CE)
Born January 21, 1972 –Tracy Falbe, age 49. Ten novels. Has read Dracula, Empire of the Summer Moon, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Paradise Lost, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. “I want to create someone you want to root for and then give him some disappointing traits. I might infuriate a reader…. I’ll at least know that I provoked emotion.” [JH]
Today, Marvel Entertainment—that’s the whole company, covering the movies, the comics, and the games—posted a curious teaser that simply had the name Heroes Reborn and “whatever happened to Earth’s mightiest heroes?” underneath. We don’t know specifically what that means, but there is one obvious implication, and based on the… oh, let’s say mixed reaction that the post is getting on Twitter, a lot of Marvel fans are coming to the same conclusion….
(12) X-MEN. X-Men Legends #1 hits stand on February 17. The series “will dive into the rich history of the X-Men to tie up loose ends, resolve long-standing plot danglers, and reveal shocking truths that will change the past and future of the X-Men!” Take a first look at the interior artwork here.
X-Men history will be revisited and revealed when X-MEN LEGENDS #1 debuts next month. This first-of-its-kind series will feature the return of the franchise’s most influential creators—including Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont, and more— in all-new, in-continuity stories set during their groundbreaking runs. Starting things off will be Fabian Nicieza with a two-part tale that finally reveals the truth behind one of the most talked-about mutant mysteries: Adam-X and his startling connection to the Summers bloodline!
Introduced during Nicieza’s explosive work on the X-Men in their nineties heyday, the beginnings of this storyline can be traced back to 1993’s X-Men #23. Since then, X-Men fans have endlessly speculated, theorized, and debated what became known as the “third Summers brother” mystery. Now, all will be answered as one the most infamous comic book plot danglers of all time is resolved!
(13) BIG SHOT. [Item by JJ.] Arnold Schwarzenegger posted video of himself receiving his first dose of coronavirus vaccine at the Dodger Stadium mass vaccination site. He celebrated the moment by slipping in a line from his film — “Come with me if you want to live!”
(15) HE MUST BE GOING. Larry Correia says Facebook “banned me from my own group because of what I MIGHT say.” Correia has been temporarily banned from FB from time to time, but I’ve never before heard of a ban where a person can still post on his own wall, which is where Correia announced he’ll be curtailing his FB presence. Not actually ending it: “There’s a few groups I use here that I can’t get the equivalent resource anywhere else yet.” All that he told his FB followers has been turned into a post for Monster Hunter Nation: “A Farewell to Facebook” [Internet Archive link].
Jon Del Arroz in a new YouTube video said he is amused by this turn of affairs, because he claims Correia had long ago kicked him out of his group.
…The post is kind of making the rounds that Larry Correia was banned from his own Facebook group after a couple of years. I’m kind of laughing about this, I’m not, going to lie, because Larry Correia actually ordered that I would be banned from his Facebook group a couple years ago for my quote wrong think or wrong meaning as it were this always happens with the libertarian crowd…
Truthfulness is not JDA’s strong suit, however, he’s banned here, so why not from Larry’s FB group, too?
“We just present examples to the algorithm and tell it, ‘This is an elephant, this is not an elephant,'” Dr Olga Isupova, from the University of Bath, said.
“By doing this, we can train the machine to recognise small details that we wouldn’t be able to pick up with the naked eye.”
The scientists looked first at South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park.
“It has a high density of elephants,” University of Oxford conservation scientist Dr Isla Duporge said.
“And it has areas of thickets and of open savannah.
“So it’s a great place to test our approach.
“While this is a proof of concept, it’s ready to go.
“And conservation organisations are already interested in using this to replace surveys using aircraft.”
Conservationists will have to pay for access to commercial satellites and the images they capture.
But this approach could vastly improve the monitoring of threatened elephant populations in habitats that span international borders, where it can be difficult to obtain permission for aircraft surveys.
Based on his knowledge of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays, Harvard’s Dr. Jeffrey R. Wilson knew just how HBO’s Game of Thrones would play out. Jon Snow, the illegitimate son, was a Richard III type, who would win the crown (and our hearts, in a love-to-hate-him kind of way). But Daenerys Targaryen, as a kind of Henry VII, would defeat him in battle and win it back, restoring peace and order. Turns out he was wrong about all of that.
But as Wilson kept watching, he began to appreciate the other ways Game of Thrones is similar to Shakespeare—like the way that both Shakespeare and George R.R. Martin’s stories translate the history of the Wars of the Roses into other popular genres….
(18) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter witnessed another stumper on tonight’s Jeopardy!
Final Jeopardy: British Writers
Answer: When Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days in 1926, this British fellow writer tried to find her with the help of a spiritual medium.
Wrong questions: Who is George Orwell? and Who is George Bernard Shaw?
Correct question (only 1 contestant got it right): Who is Arthur Conan Doyle?
(19) A MISSION. Pierre Pettinger, the well-known costumer who along with his wife Sandy received the International Costumers Guild’s 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award, published a new space opera in October, The Road From Antioch.
The pilgrim ship Antioch is destroyed just short of the New Vatican. Someone is stealing critical shipments in the Chemosh Empire. Two worlds of the Laanyr Clan Heer have been attacked. Small vessels are buzzing the Rivnyera World Ships.
Who is behind these incidents? Terrorists? Rebels? The mysterious Cherek? Or someone else entirely? The nations of the Orion Arm must join forces and find the culprits. The investigation ranges from the space around the planet Ans to the fields of Inohr Dan Nool to the supposedly primitive planet of Cordwainer. Join an Admiral, a Catholic Sister, a Knight Militant, an Ensign, a Great Mind, an Inspector and a Herdmaster as they seek out the perpetrators of these odd occurrences.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Tammy Coxen, Pierre Pettinger, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
Steve Johnson has been a File 770 reader since the late Seventies (albeit with a long, pre-Internet break) who used to read issues printed with a Gestetner mimeo. But I never had this bucket — or a cat:
Della Street is a two year old Calico cat, intensely curious about novel objects, so long as they are novel. I doubt if she will ever again pay attention to the Gestetner Ice Bucket or anything printed on twiltone paper. (The fanzine is Starling 13, January 1969.)
Photos of your felines (or whatever you’ve got!) resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
After their cataclysmic showdown with Knull in King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries, Asgard’s greatest warriors will embark on another glorious quest in a brand-new series. Launching in April, The Mighty Valkyries will be crafted by the returning creative team of writers Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk and artist Mattia de Iulis.
Jane Foster believed she was the only Valkyrie left – but the fight against Knull, the King in Black, proved her wrong. Now the Valkyries must redefine their roles in a changing world – and Asgard’s not going to make it easy. When Loki comes to Jane with rumors of a beast stalking the souls of Midgard, she leaps into action along with the mysterious new Valkyrie who just made her highly-anticipated debut in King In Black: Return Of The Valkyries #1. But does Jane’s new ally have other priorities? Years ago, this ancient warrior made a promise to a woman she loved. And now, it’s time for her to follow through.
Here’s what Grønbekk had to say about the new series:
“This story is big, cosmic, and mythical. The wolves are let loose, an old god is back, and life is finding its way into Hel. People are dying on Midgard, and even Loki has a part to play (which is rarely a good sign for, well, anyone but Loki). Though our Valkyries begin the journey in two different galaxies, their paths soon meet. But there are twists and turns in their way, and nothing and no-one is quite what they seem. They will have to ask the right questions and make hard choices before they can unravel the mystery they both find themselves in.
“I could say that it’s a story about ancient magic, dying worlds, talking horses, and forgotten forces, and while that would all be true, it’s also about finding back to life — after loss, illness, stagnation, and imprisonment.”
New destinies and life-changing battles await when The Mighty Valkyries #1 hits stands in April! For more information, visit Marvel.com.
…Her relationship with poetry dates at least to the third grade, when her teacher read Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine”to the class. She can’t recall what metaphor caught her attention, but she remembers that it reverberated inside her….
…Gorman, all of 22, became the youth poet laureate of Los Angeles at age 16 in 2014 and the first national youth poet laureate three years later. On Wednesday, she became the youngest poet to write and recite a piece at a presidential inauguration, following in the considerably more experienced footsteps of Maya Angelou and Robert Frost…
In Bradbury’s book, Zen in the Art of Writing, Bradbury recommended that everyone start off their morning by reading poetry.
…Seeing the Capitol with broken windows, smashed doors, blood streaked on statues, and feces smeared on the floors and walls was something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, even having watched Trump in action for four years, so it’s no wonder I’ve been holding my breath ever since January sixth and especially watching the inauguration, afraid something even worse would happen.
When Biden finished taking the oath of office, I took my first easy breath in four years. I thought of John Adams in 1776 murmuring, “It’s done. It’s done,” after the Declaration of Independence was passed.
(3) NEW BEGINNING. N.K. Jemisin was momentarily surprised:
…Not just bad, of course: In fact, the worst. A recitation of his moral failures and actual probable crimes would have us here all day, so let’s pick just one: 400,000 dead, so far, from COVID during his presidency. He is not responsible for the virus. He is responsible for denying its seriousness; for choosing to downplay it because he thought it would make him look bad; for making something as simple and useful as wearing a mask a political issue; for bungling a national response to it and then the distribution of medical supplies and, later, vaccines; for spreading misinformation and lies about it; for, fundamentally, not caring about his fellow Americans, and viewing the pandemic through the lens of him, not us. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who are now dead would be alive under a better president. Their deaths are on his hands, and he simply doesn’t care. He never will.
… While the BBC has yet to officially confirm Whittaker’s exit, the regeneration rumour mill has already begun, with all sorts of actors (Michaela Coel! Kris Marshall!) put forward by fans to succeed her ahead of any official recasting.
Assuming, of course, that the next Doctor is announced – because recently, we’ve been wondering. Could the next Doctor actually, for the first time in history, be a total surprise in Whittaker’s last episode, only revealed to viewers when he or she first appears?
… Sadly, production considerations have meant that this has never really been possible, with the new Doctor usually filming their first series publicly before the previous Doctor has moved on (and so making it nigh-impossible to keep secret). But this year, something’s a little different.
When Doctor Who kicked off series 13 filming in November 2020, many assumed that the 10-month shoot would debut in early 2022, giving the series plenty of postproduction time before it came to screens. But surprisingly, the BBC have instead confirmed that series 13 will kick off in late 2021 (presumably in October/November), giving quite a quick turnaround between the end of filming (estimated to be around August) and the airing.
With this in mind, assuming a new Doctor is revealed in Jodie Whittaker’s final episode it’s extremely unlikely that filming for the next series would have begun already. Filming on series 13 would have only wrapped a few months before and the production team would likely be on a break.
In other words, the next Doctor wouldn’t be at as much risk of discovery – and this could offer a golden opportunity.
Based in San Francisco at the height of his writing career, Milne has been hailed as the father of American science fiction and is now the subject of intensive research at Dundee University to restore his place in Scotland’s literary history and landscape – including republishing his stories.
“If he didn’t exist you would have to invent him because there is this kind of Milne-shaped gap between Scotland and the history of science fiction which he fits into absolutely perfectly,” said Dr Keith Williams, a Reader in English at Dundee University’s School of Humanities.
“Scotland appears to punch way below its weight in relation to early science fiction pioneering, yet in actual fact it has this really extraordinary and amazingly rich, lost presence who has just slipped through the cracks of the canon by a series of historical accidents.”
First and foremost was an actual accident. Milne, who had published most of his stories in San Francisco literary journal The Argonaut was on his way to a meeting to discuss bringing out his magazine works as a book.
“Then during one of his spectacular benders, because he was a heroic drunk, he was run over by one of San Francisco’s new electric street cars. He had this head-on collision with modernity himself.
“Ironically, that cut his career short and basically meant his work was never edited together into a single volume or even a selection of material in his lifetime.”
This tragedy meant Milne and his trailblazing work – he inspired not only the science fiction genre but some actual scientific advancements as well – was all but forgotten, while writers who came after him are still lauded to this day.
(7) CARBON COPIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster, Designated Financial Times Reader.] In the January 12 Financial Times, gaming columnist Tom Faber looks at how game developers deal with environmental issues.
Games have flirted with environmentalism over the years. In 1990, a decade after Will Wright made the first Sims game, he incorporated global warming into Simearth, threatening players’ planets with rising temperatures that could melt ice caps and cause oceans to boil away. The next year, in the first Civilisation, rising pollution levels could turn plains into deserts, a concept revisited in 2018’s Gathering Storm expansion for Civilisation VI. A recent add-on for Minecraft introduced carbon dioxide to the game, which rises to dangerous levels if you smelt ore, but diminished when you plant trees. Several new games set for release this year also tackle environmental themes: We Are The Countdown tasks players with protecting huge animals in its Afrofuturist world, while Endling casts you as a mother fox protecting her cubs from threats such as climate change and pollution.
There are also games that prioritize environmental messaging over the fun of their gameplay. These include Plasticity, an elegant platformer where you traverse a world drowning under plastic waste, and the work of Earth Games, a studio which releases educational projects with laboured titles such as Soot Out At The O C Corral, in which you attempt to catch falling soot particles before they contaminate the snow.
(8) BEYOND STOP-MOTION AND GO-MOTION. A recent acquisition for the Academy Museum’s collection, a Jurassic Park T. rex Dinosaur Input Device will be on display inside “Invented Worlds & Characters,” a set of galleries dedicated to the history of animated films, special and visual effects: “Making Digital Dinosaurs: The Dinosaur Input Device”.
Few pieces of filmmaking technology encapsulate their particular moment as thoroughly as the Dinosaur Input Device. Developed for Steven Spielberg’s groundbreaking Jurassic Park (1993), the Dinosaur Input Device (or DID, pronounced dee eye dee) was an innovative answer to that film’s core creative problem: how to bring an array of prehistoric creatures to life on screen in a way that felt fresh and believable.
Jurassic Park’s DID provided a physical interface that allowed traditional stop-motion animators to produce the seeds of digital graphics. Like many innovations, the DID was born on the fly. With the film already underway, an interdisciplinary effects team created and used it to push the boundaries of then-established practice. Today, almost 30 years later, the DID continues to claim our attention, not only because of the awe-inspiring images it helped create, but also because it marked a paradigm shift in visual effects, bridging practical and digital techniques in a way few tools had before—or since….
(9) SAHLIN OBIT. Olle Sahlin (1956-2021), a Swedish translator, editor, graphic designer, and photographer died January 9. Regarded as a “nerd icon,” he was active in RPG, LARP, SCA, Forodrim (the Stockholm area Tolkien society), and fanzines. From 1986-1993 Sahlin worked at Target Games (Adventure Games) as editor. Over the years he was editor-in-chief of Sinkadus magazine, and later published the journals Centurion and Fëa Livia. His literary translations include Stephen Donaldson’s Mordant series, Philip Pullman’s The Dark Matter series, and nine of Terry Pratchett’s novels.
Hospitalized in a coma several years ago, Sahlin never fully recovered, and lost his life earlier this month. He is survived by his wife, Karolina, for whom a GoFundMe has been started:.
And for Karolina, these are difficult times. She has not only lost her lifelong partner, she is alone with all the practical things that must be taken care of, and a broken financial situation. Being freelancing translators is a challenge and income varies, and with Olle being ill for a long period, they have not been able to work as much as usual.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born January 20, 1884 — A. Merritt. His first fantasy story was published in 1917, “Through the Dragon Glass” in the November 14 issue of All-Story Weekly. His SFF career would eventually consist of eight novels and fifteen (I think) short stories. I’m sure that I’ve read The Moon Pool, his novel, and much of that short fiction, but can’t recall the other novels as being read by me. In the digital release, Apple Books is clearly the better place to find his work as they’ve got everything he published whereas Kindle and Kobo are spotty. (Died 1943.) (CE)
Born January 20, 1920 — DeForest Kelley. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Trek and a number of films that followed plus the animated series. Other genre appearances include voicing Viking 1 in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (his last acting work) and a 1955 episode of Science Fiction Theatre entitled “Y..O..R..D..” being his only ones as he didn’t do SF as he really preferred Westerns. (Died 1999.) (CE)
Born January 20, 1926 — Patricia Neal. Best known to genre buffs for her film role as World War II widow Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still. She also appeared in Stranger from Venus, your usual British made flying saucer film. She shows up in the Eighties in Ghost Story based off a Peter Straub novel, and she did an episode of The Ghost Story series which was later retitled Circle Of Fear in hopes of getting better ratings (it didn’t, it was cancelled). If Kung Fu counts as genre, she did an appearance there. (Died 2010) (CE)
Born January 20, 1934 — Tom Baker, 87. The Fourth Doctor and my introduction to Doctor Who. My favorite story? The “Talons of Weng Chiang” with of course the delicious added delight of his companion Leela played by Lousie Jameson. Even the worse of the stories were redeemed by him and his jelly babies. He did have a turn before being the Fourth Doctor as Sherlock Holmes In “The Hound of the Baskervilles”, and though not genre, he turns up as Rasputin early in his career in “Nicholas and Alexandra”! Being a working actor, he shows up in a number of low-budget films early on such as The Vault of Horror, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad,The Mutations, The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb and The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood. And weirdly enough, he’s Halvarth the Elf in a Czech made Dungeons & Dragons film which has a score of 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. (CE)
Born January 20, 1948 — Nancy Kress, 73. Best known for her Hugo and Nebula Award winning Beggars in Spain and its sequels. Her latest novel is If Tomorrow Comes: Book 2 in the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy. (CE)
Born January 20, 1958 — Kij Johnson, 63. Writer and associate director of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas English Department which is I must say a cool genre thing to be doing indeed. If you’ve not read her Japanese mythology based The Fox Woman, do so now as it’s superb. The sequel, Fudoki, is just as interesting. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a novella taking a classic Lovecraftian tale and giving a nice twist. Finally I’ll recommend her short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories. She’s will stocked at the usual digital suspects. (CE)
Born January 20, 1964 — Francesca Buller, 57. Performer and wife of Ben Browder, yes that’s relevant as she’s been four different characters on Farscape, to wit she played the characters of Minister Ahkna, Raxil, ro-NA and M’Lee. Minister Ahkn is likely the one you remember her as being. Farscape is her entire genre acting career. (CE)
Digital comics delivered via mobile devices are starting to take significant creative and commercial steps forward. Last year Webtoon, owned by Korean tech giant Line, posted dramatic user and revenue growth, driven by large investments in attracting new customers. That was not a fluke: Tapas, a smaller U.S.-based mobile comics startup, has also announced impressive recent growth, along with plans to partner with traditional print publishers like Scholastic.
Founded in 2012, Tapas has grown a dedicated community of readers and creators through a popular mobile app, Tapas.io, which features “snackable” vertical-scroll episodic webcomics and stories. In the last year, the privately-held company announced it had reached 100 million episode-unlocks (paid content transactions) and saw total 2020 payments to Tapas creators rise to $14 million….
The site’s founder The G started the site in 2012 with co-editor Vance K, and we’ve added co-editors Joe Sherry and Adri Joy in the last few years. In addition to the editors, who also contribute content, our current team of writers includes Aidan Moher, Andrea Johnson, Chloe N. Clark, Dean E. S. Richard, Mikey, Paul Weimer, Phoebe, Sean Dowie, Shana DuBois, and Spacefaring Kitten.
Why did you decide to start your site or zine?
At the time, I was reading a lot of SF/F and – being an opinionated person – felt the need to blast those opinions out into the ether. But I also didn’t think running a blog on my own sounded like as much fun as running one with other people. So I asked Vance if he wanted to start one with me (it didn’t take him long to say yes). After that we gradually added more people – some we knew personally, and others we met online. — The G, founder
G and I were next door neighbors in Los Angeles for about three years — both transplants from places with robust and storied BBQ traditions. There was a lot of grilling in our shared courtyard as a result, and over the course of many beers and cooked meats, we talked a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. After we’d both moved to new spots, he got the idea for a blog, and I think the night he reached out about it, I had just watched a deeply odd French psychological horror movie, and I was like, “I know just what to write about.” — Vance K
The obvious comparisons made about Netflix’s French language hit is with Sherlock: a modern day re-imagining of a turn-of-the-century character. The first episode suggests a slickness of form suggestive of Sherlock but Lupin as a show is less impressed with its own cleverness and more interested in the central character. The bold choice is that central character is not Arsène Lupin Gentleman Burglar but Assane Diop, the son of a Senegalese immigrant who has reshaped his life to emulate the famous (at least in France) character….
Mars is about to be a very busy place when three separate missions arrive at the red planet in February.
One of those missions includes NASA’s Perseverance rover. When it lands, we’ll be able to hear the sounds of Mars for the first time, thanks to microphones riding on the rover.
A new interactive experience shared by the agency will prepare our ears for a key difference in the sounds of Mars: the atmosphere. The thin Martian atmosphere has only 1% of the density that we experience of Earth’s atmosphere at the surface. It also has a different atmospheric composition. Mars is also much colder than Earth. All of these factors will affect sound on Mars, even though the differences may be subtle.
The NASA interactive compares sounds as we hear them on Earth versus how they may sound on Mars, like birds chirping or music. If you were speaking on Mars, your voice would sound more muffled and it would take longer for others to hear you.
So what will we be able to hear on Mars? The microphones are expected to pick up the sounds of the rover landing and working on Mars, as well as ambient noises like wind. One of the microphones is located on top of the rover’s mast, so it can pick up natural sounds and even activity by the rover — like when the rover’s laser zaps rock samples and turns them into plasma to learn more about their composition.
…The Perseverance rover carries two microphones, letting us directly record the sounds of Mars for the very first time. One, an experimental mic, may capture the landing itself. The other mic is for science. Both mics may even capture the sounds the rover makes.
Even though Earth and Mars are entirely different planets, it may be comforting to know that if you were on Mars, you might still sound pretty much like yourself. If you were standing on Mars, you’d hear a quieter, more muffled version of what you’d hear on Earth, and you’d wait slightly longer to hear it. On Mars, the atmosphere is entirely different. But, the biggest change to audio would be to high-pitch sounds, higher than most voices. Some sounds that we’re used to on Earth, like whistles, bells or bird songs, would almost be inaudible on Mars….
…Paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of a 98 million-year-old titanosaur in Neuquén Province in Argentina’s northwest Patagonia, in thick, sedimentary deposits known as the Candeleros Formation.
The 24 vertebrae of the tail and elements of the pelvic and pectoral girdle discovered are thought to belong to a titanosaur, a diverse group of sauropod dinosaurs, characterized by their large size, a long neck and tail, and four-legged stance.
In research published in the journal Cretaceous Research, experts say they believe the creature to be “one of the largest sauropods ever found” and could exceed the size of a Patagotitan, a species which lived 100 million to 95 million years ago and measured up to a staggering 37.2 meters (122 feet) long….
For the entirety of my career as a journalist covering paleontology, I’ve been wanting to know: What does a dinosaur’s butthole look like? When I wrote My Beloved Brontosaurus, a book about dinosaur biology, the chapter on reproduction required a lot of time imagining the nature of a Jurassic behind; one had yet to be found preserved. Even dinosaur models and sculptures often demur on the point of the dino butt, leaving the terrible lizards with terrible constipation.
Now I finally have a clearer view, thanks to a fossil of a horned dinosaur called Psittacosaurus, described in a paper online earlier this month…
Stacy Milrany probably runs the only art gallery in the country where visitors are encouraged to walk away with the art.
And as far as she knows, her Little Free Art Gallery in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood is likely the only museum where all of the works will fit neatly in a pocket.Milrany’s miniature gallery, which opened for public view on Dec. 13, sits five feet off the ground inside a white wooden box in front of her house.
The head curator and painter said she based her idea on the popular Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods coast to coast.
“The idea is pretty simple — anyone is welcome to leave a piece, take a piece or just have a look around and enjoy what’s inside,” said Milrany, a painter who runs a small, appointment-only gallery featuring her works. … Nearly 100 pieces have come and gone since the gallery opened last month, she said, with most small enough to be displayed on tiny shelves or seven-inch easels.
I’ve heard the name of this neighborhood before and wouldn’t be surprised if some fans live nearby.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, Hampus Eckerman, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, JJ, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]