Spectrum 26 Call for Entries


Professional and student artists, art directors, publishers and artists’ representatives are invited to submit entries to the 26th Annual Spectrum International Competition for Fantastic Art. Artworks in all media embracing the themes of science fiction, fantasy, horror and the surreal are eligible.

Fantastic art can be subtle or obvious, traditional or off-the-wall, painted, sculpted, done digitally or photographed: There is no unacceptable way to create art, and there are no set rules that say one piece qualifies while another does not. Imagination and skill are what matters.

Work chosen by the jury will be printed in full color in the Spectrum annual, the peer-selected “best of the year” collection for the fantastic arts. Click here to submit.

The Spectrum 26 jury is a five member panel of some of the most exceptional artists working in the industry today consisting of Kei Acedera, Wesley Burt, Bobby Chiu, Edward Kinsella III, and Colin and Kristine Poole. Find out more about the Spectrum 26 jury here.

“It is an honor to assemble such a prestigious group of artists for the Spectrum 26 jury,” shares publisher John Fleskes. “I greatly admire the art that these six individuals have created during their careers. I also have a high regard for the educational opportunities that they have provided to others while giving back to the community. I look forward to bringing them together to view the call for entries submissions in February 2019.”

The Spectrum 26 Call for Entries Poster was created by renowned artist, Tyler Jacobson.

[Based on a press release.]

2018 BookNest Fantasy Awards Shortlists


The shortlists for the 2018 BookNest Fantasy Awards, hosted by the BookNest.eu blog, were announced October 15. Open public voting to pick the winners continues until October 31 — to vote, click here.

AWARDS PROCESS. The BookNest Fantasy Awards are selected by a hybrid process — part jury, part popular vote, with a final sanity check on the winners.

The longlist was created with the input of nine popular Fantasy Blogs (Bookworm Blues, Fantasy Book Critic, Fantasy Book Review, Fantasy-Faction, Grimdark Magazine, The Fantasy Hive, The Fantasy Inn, The Grim Tidings Podcast & The Weatherwax Report), three big Fantasy Imprints (Gollancz, Harper Voyager & Orbit), and two well-respected Agents (John Jarrold & Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency). They nominated their favorite books in the first three categories (Best Traditionally Published Novel, Best Self-Published Novel, and Best Debut Novel), published between October 1st 2017 and September 30th 2018.

In the second stage and with the public’s help, the 10 books and five 5 imprints with the highest number of votes in each category made it to the shortlist.

Best Traditionally Published Novel (Shortlist)

  • Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan
  • A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
  • Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
  • Master Assassins by Robert V.S. Redick
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden

Best Self-Published Novel (Shortlist)

  • As Iron Falls by Bryce O’Connor
  • Behind the Vale by Brian D. Anderson
  • City Of Kings by Rob J. Hayes
  • Death March by Phil Tucker
  • Hero Forged by Josh Erikson
  • Last Dragon Standing by Rachel Aaron
  • Paternus: Wrath Of The Gods by Dyrk Ashton
  • Pursuit of Shadows by J.A. Andrews
  • Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords by Benedict Patrick
  • We Ride The Storm by Devin Madson

Best Debut Novel (Shortlist)

  • Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang
  • City Of Lies by Sam Hawke
  • Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young
  • The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli
  • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
  • The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

Best Imprint (Longlist)

  • Del Rey Books (Ebury, Penguin Random House)
  • Gollancz (Orion Publishing Group)
  • Harper Voyager (HarperCollins)
  • Orbit (Little, Brown Book Group)
  • Tor Books (Macmillan Publishers)

Pixel Scroll 10/15/18 Scrolldenfreude

(1) WORLDS BEYOND HERE. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle is hosting Worlds Beyond Here from October 12, 2018 through September 15, 2019.

Looking at the connection between Asian Pacific Americans and the infinite possibilities of science fiction, World’s Beyond Here follows the path of a young Sci Fi fan becoming an empowered creator, limited only by imagination.

Popular science fiction has had a disappointing lack of Asian Pacific American (APA) representation in American media, based primarily on stereotypes. Despite this, APAs have had and continue to have a large impact in science fiction, often behind the scenes, and a number of pioneering APA artists, actors, designers, writers, animators, and directors have persevered and inspired new generations of fans/creators with their stories and visions. For many Asian Pacific Americans, science fiction addresses issues related to identity, immigration and race, technology, morality and the human condition, all while capturing the imagination through exciting adventures in outer space and time travel.

Michi Trota authored the exhibit text, and told Uncanny Magazine readers about her experience in “On Writing the Exhibit Text for Worlds Beyond Here: Expanding the Universe of APA Science Fiction”

The exhibit covers pop culture touchstones like Star Trek, Star Wars, time travel, “cli-fi,” and sentient robots, as well as how APA creators are imagining silkpunk worlds, reclaiming the genre from Orientalism, envisioning exploration narratives free from colonialism, and grappling with the ethics and morality of technological access and development, as well as science fiction’s ever-present questions of what it means to be human—all through the lens of APA experiences and perspectives.

She has a Twitter thread, starting here, that includes photos and art.

On Facebook, Trota posted the list of people who were consulted in the development of the exhibit – lots of familiar names there.

One of them was Mary Anne Mohanraj, who also posted some photos from the exhibit:

I was one of the people the curators consulted at the start of the exhibit, and though I didn’t have time to get as involved as I would’ve liked, I think I helped reframe their initial concept away from just focusing on tokenization and exclusion towards examining and celebrating the historic and current work of APA SF creators.

They even included a little thing I wrote about Spock. Is this the first time I’ve had work in a museum? I think it might be!

Artist Francesca Myrman showed Facebook followers a piece of her artwork that’s in the exhibit.

I am beyond honored that Ken Liu appreciated my artwork illustrating the world of the Grace of Kings for his May 2015 Locus interview. He’s used it a couple times since to illustrate the idea of “silkpunk” for various publications, but a museum show is above and beyond!

(2) OLD PEOPLE READ NEW SFF. James Davis Nicoll has his Old People reading “Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points by JY Yang”. Can they dig it?

This installment of Old People Read New SFF features JY Yang’s Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points. Some of us—well, me, mostly—only became aware of Yang when they read Yang’s Silkpunk works for tor dot com. Yang has in fact been active since 2012, published in venues from Clarkesworld to Apex. Some of us—well, me, mostly—should have been more observant. Although Yang’s protagonist Starling is in no sense human, it turns out Starling shares something vital with its human creators. But is that common element enough to endear it to my Old Readers?

Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points can be read here.

(3) SENDAK. The Society of Illustrators will host a “Maurice Sendak Exhibit and Sale” from October 23 until November 3.

The Society of Illustrators is pleased to announce a special exhibition of legendary artist Maurice Sendak’s work. Longtime friends and collectors Justin Schiller and Dennis M V David present a look at some of Sendak’s rarest pieces, including illustrations from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, a booklet commissioned by his British publishers as a 1967 Christmas keepsake. It is the only remaining manuscript for a published Sendak title still in private hands and is being exhibited for the first time publicly. In addition to these drawings, this exhibition will include more than a hundred watercolors, ink and pencil designs for Mr. Sendak’s various book, theatre and commercial work. All of the works will be available to purchase.

Admission to the exhibit will be free during special hours (Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 5pm; Saturday – Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm).

(4) KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED. In “Proof of life: how would we recognise an alien if we saw one?” on Aeon, Oxford postgrad Samuel Levin asks how you would recognize alien life from a photograph.  How would it be different from a bunch of rocks  The answer is that natural selection would show that aliens have adapted to their environment.

One thing that sets life apart from nonlife is its apparent design. Living things, from the simplest bacteria to the great redwoods, have vast numbers of intricate parts working together to make the organism function. Think of your hands, heart, spleen, mitochondria, cilia, neurons, toenails – all collaborating in synchrony to help you navigate, eat, think and survive. The most beautiful natural rock formations lack even a tiny fraction of the myriad parts of a single bacterial cell that coordinate to help it divide and reproduce.

(5) THE BOYS. Coming from Amazon Prime Video in 2019.

In a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, THE BOYS centers on a group of vigilantes known informally as “The Boys,” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than their blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty. THE BOYS is a fun and irreverent take on what happens when superheroes – who are as popular as celebrities, as influential as politicians and as revered as Gods – abuse their superpowers rather than use them for good. It’s the powerless against the super powerful as The Boys embark on a heroic quest to expose the truth about “The Seven,” and Vought – the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that manages these superheroes. THE BOYS is scheduled for a 2019 release.

 

(6) OPPORTUNITY LOST? We’re still waiting for it to phone home – and according to Gizmodo, “There May Still Be Hope for NASA’s Sleeping Opportunity Rover”.

It’s been months since NASA engineers have heard from the sleeping Opportunity rover, which powered down after getting caught in a massive dust storm on Mars that obscured its surface from the Sun. But all hope isn’t yet lost, as the space agency said in an update Thursday that a coming windy season on the Red Planet could help clear dust believed to be obstructing Opportunity’s solar panels.

“A windy period on Mars—known to Opportunity’s team as “dust-clearing season”—occurs in the November-to-January time frame and has helped clean the rover’s panels in the past,” NASA said.

In the meantime, engineers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)—which oversees the 14-year-old rover’s operations—are increasing the number of commands to Opportunity and listening for any calls home in the event that it is still operational.

(7) THEY SCOPED OUT THE PROBLEM. But there’s good news about another piece of space exploring tech: Just a few days after putting itself in safe mode after a gyroscope failure, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been diagnosed, the problem addressed, and the telescope on its way back to normal (NASA: “Chandra Operations Resume After Cause of Safe Mode Identified”). Science operations should resume shortly.

The cause of Chandra’s safe mode on October 10 has now been understood and the Operations team has successfully returned the spacecraft to its normal pointing mode. The safe mode was caused by a glitch in one of Chandra’s gyroscopes resulting in a 3-second period of bad data that in turn led the on-board computer to calculate an incorrect value for the spacecraft momentum. The erroneous momentum indication then triggered the safe mode.

The team has completed plans to switch gyroscopes and place the gyroscope that experienced the glitch in reserve. Once configured with a series of pre-tested flight software patches, the team will return Chandra to science operations which are expected to commence by the end of this week.

(8) PAUL ALLEN OBIT. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died October 15 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Paul Allen and Bill Gates in 1981.

Allen’s pioneering work in PC’s and software made him a wealthy man – not that it came easily. The Digital Antiquarian’s post “A Pirate’s Life for me, Part 1: Don’t Copy That Floppy!” reproduced an open letter from Bill Gates published in 1976 that ended —

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however: 1) most of these “users” never bought BASIC (less than 10 percent of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) the amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 per hour.

Of course, just a few years later they secured a deal to provide the software for IBM PCs, the foundation of their success.

Paul Allen effectively left the company he named (“Micro-Soft”) in 1982 due to serious illness, but remained on the Microsoft board of directors until 2000, and retained his stock, so when the company went public he became a billionaire.

His investments and philanthropy have often made news.

  • In a Gehry-designed building near Seattle’s Space Needle he created a dual science fiction and rock music museum with many exhibits drawn from Allen’s own collections. (The cream of those sf collectibles had been bought from Forrest J Ackerman.) And in 2004 the Science Fiction Hall of Fame was transplanted from the GunnCenter for the Study of Science Fiction to Seattle’s Science Fiction Museum. However, not even Paul Allen’s money could sustain things as originally conceived. The Science Fiction Museum was de-installed in 2011 and the place has been reorganized as MoPOP, a pop culture museum that includes science-fiction-themed exhibits.
  • He was the sole investor behind aerospace engineer and entrepreneur Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne suborbital commercial spacecraft.
  • He also donated $30 million to build the Allen Telescope Array, run by the SETI Institute near Mt. Shasta, an enormous ear listening for any sign of intelligent life in the universe.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ — and a guest!]

  • Born October 15, 1911 James H. Schmitz, Writer. An émigré from Germany to the U.S., he produced numerous short fiction works and novels, the best known of which is the space opera The Witches of Karres, which earned him one of his two Hugo nominations and has been translated into several different languages. Witches was an expansion of a novelette originally published in Astounding, where many of his stories were published. His short fiction, which also garnered four Nebula nominations, has been gathered into several collections, including a NESFA’s Choice “Best of” edition.
  • Born October 15, 1919 E.C. “Ted” Tubb, Writer, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan from England who between 1950 and his death in 2010 produced more than 230 short fiction works and 140 novels, the best known of which are his Dumarest series, and the Cap Kennedy series written as Gregory Kern. In the late 50s, he edited the magazine Authentic Science Fiction for two years. He was one of the co-founders of the British Science Fiction Association, as well as editor of the first issue of its journal, Vector. Interestingly, he also wrote several Space: 1999 tie-in novels in the 70s. He served on convention-running committees, and was Guest of Honor at several conventions, including the 1970 Worldcon in Germany.
  • Born October 15, 1923 Italo Calvino, Writer and Journalist who was born in Cuba, but grew up in Italy. His works range widely across the literary spectrum, across realism, surrealism, and absurdism. As a genre writer he is best known for his “cosmicomics”, linked stories which explore fantastical speculations about subjects such as mathematics, evolution, and human perception. At the time of his death in 1985, he was the most-translated Italian author, and he was recognized with a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.
  • Born October 15, 1924 Mark Lenard, Actor best known to genre fans as Sarek, father of Spock, in both the original and animated Star Trek series, as well as three of the films and two episodes of The Next Generation. He also played a Klingon in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and a Romulan in an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, and had guest roles in genre series Mission: Impossible, The Girl With Something Extra, Planet of the Apes, The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and Otherworld. During the same time period as the original Star Trek series, he also starred in the western Here Come the Brides, and SFF author Barbara Hambly famously worked a crossover of the two series into her early Star Trek tie-in novel for Pocket Books, Ishmael, where Lenard’s Brides character is one of Spock’s ancestors, and which also contained cameos by characters from Doctor Who, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galactica.
  • Born October 15, 1933 Georgia Myrle Miller, 85, Writer under the name of Sasha Miller who produced a number of fantasy novels and shorter works, including collaborating with Andre Norton on the five novels in the Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan, a novel written in Norton’s Witch World universe, and GURPS Witch World with Ben W. Miller, a rule book for the role-playing game system.
  • Born October 15, 1935 Ray “Duggie” Fisher, Editor, Conrunner and Fan, who chaired the 1969 Worldcon in St. Louis, was on the committee for several other conventions, and was a founding member of the Poplar Bluff Science Fiction Club and the Ozark Science Fiction Association. His fanzine ODD was a finalist for a Best Fanzine Hugo. His contributions to fandom were, sadly, cut short by his death at age 52 due to complications of diabetes.
  • Born October 15, 1938 Don Simpson, 80, Artist and Fan who has done cover art and interior illustrations for numerous genre works. He also shows up in several of David McDaniel’s Man from U.N.C.L.E. tie-in novels as “Mr. Simpson of R&D”, and was the inspiration for the villain in McDaniel’s first U.N.C.L.E. novel The Dagger Affair. He is the proud possessor of a purchase order from the Smithsonian Institution for “One (1) alien artifact,” which he designed for the Air and Space Museum. He has been Artist Guest of Honor at a Westercon and other conventions.
  • Born October 15, 1942 – Lon Atkins, Editor, Conrunner, and Fan who chaired a DeepSouthCon and was editor of numerous fanzines and apazines, including eight years as co-editor of Rally!. He was Fan Guest of Honor at a Westercon, and a recipient of Southern Fandom’s Rebel lifetime achievement award. He was also a ferocious Hearts player.
  • Born October 15, 1969 Dominic West, 49, Actor, Musician, and Director from England whose most recent appearance was as Lara Croft’s father in the Tomb Raider reboot, but has also appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, 300, John Carter, The Awakening, Hannibal Rising, and a version of The Christmas Carol, as well as providing voices in animated features such as Finding Dory and Arthur Christmas.
  • Born October 15, 1999 Bailee Madison, 19, Actor who starred in The Bridge to Terabitha at the age of 7, the series The Wizards of Waverly Place at age 11, and the series Good Witch which is now in its fourth season. Other genre appearances include Afraid of the Dark, The Night Before Halloween, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, and Once Upon a Time.

[guest birthday bio from Mark Hepworth]

  • Born October 15, 1953  Walter Jon Williams, 65, Writer. A versatile author who has skipped around genres, including writing his cyberpunk novel Hardwired  without having heard of cyberpunk, while Metropolitan is a novel he insists is fantasy but fans persistently label as some flavour of science fiction. His near-future Dagmar Shaw series rather prophetically featured a Turkish revolution facilitated by social media just as the Arab Spring was gaining momentum. His longest-running series is the space opera Dread Empire’s Fall (Praxis), which he recently rebooted with the short novel Impersonations and the just-released novel The Accidental War. He has five Hugo nominations, ten Nebula nominations (winning twice), a Sidewise Award, and an assortment of other nominations including Sturgeon, Philip K. Dick, World Fantasy, and Prix Imaginaire. He has been Guest of Honour for at least a dozen conventions, including WorldCon 75. Other work includes writing for Star Wars, Wild Cards, RPGs, TV, and historical novels, and he is founder and an instructor for the Taos Toolbox, an annual two-week SF writer’s workshop.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • A little-known fact of airline piloting — The Argyle Sweater.
  • This Monty shows that some things simply can’t be handled by a Universal Translator.

(11) THAT’S WHO. Mashable invites you to “Trip out to the new ‘Doctor Who’ title sequence, made by a longtime fan”:

The sequence is the work of a visual effects artist only known as John Smith, who made his own opening back in 2010 as a 16-year-old fan and posted it to YouTube.

“I had no idea what I was doing, but was so excited for Matt Smith’s first series that I decided to try what every Whovian-turned-VFX-Artist does at some point… making my own title sequence for the show,” Smith wrote in a Facebook post.

Eight years later, Smith was tapped to create a real sequence for the latest series.

 

(12) WHAT’S GALLIFREY LIKE? And Gizmodo consulted an array of scientists and left convinced that Doctor Who’s Gallifrey Would Be a Nightmarishly Awful Place to Live”.

…Assuming that large red star isn’t just extremely close to the planet, it could be a red giant nearing the end of its life. What of the other? For clues, we can look to the planet’s flora.

The Tenth Doctor referenced trees with silver leaves. Lillian Ostrach, a research physical scientist at the US Geological Survey’s Astrogeology Science Center, told Earther the silver color could come from the absorption of strange metals from Gallifrey’s soil. It could also mean that those plants evolved to absorb a different type of solar radiation than Earth’s green plants do….

(13) HISTORIC SFF PHOTOS. The Forbidden Planet bookstore archive hosts images from their instore events — from 1978 to 1989, including signings with Mark Hamill and Dave Prowse, James Doohan, Nick Rhodes, Jon Pertwee, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, Anne McCaffrey and others.

(14) FANNISH PARADISE? Well, at least one day a year…. “Uzupis: a tiny republic of free spirits”.

Meaning ‘beyond the river’ in Lithuanian, Užupis is separated from the rest of the city by the Vilnele River. The republic celebrates its independence annually on 1 April, known locally as Užupis Day. On this day, travellers can get their passports stamped as they cross the bridge into the republic (every other day, the border is not guarded), use the local (unofficial) currency and treat themselves to the beer that flows from the water spout in the main square (yes, really).

(15) A LOT OF BIRTHDAYS AGO. Walter Jon Williams was interviewed about cyberpunk by phone in this 1991 episode of the Chronic Rift TV program.

In our second season premiere, Andrea Lipinski and Keith DeCandido welcome editor Brian Thomsen, physicist Joseph Pierce, and author Walter Jon Williams to our Roundtable discussion of the cyberpunk genre. The Memorable Moment is from the classic film, “H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond”. Trivia: We resolve the cliffhanger by introducing a race of beings called, “The Dork”. We also have a new animated sequence and theme song. The sequence was created by Mike Fichera who wanted to emulate the feel of the “Terminator” movie. The theme song was created by Victor Fichera. It would be the theme song for the rest of the series and was used when the podcast started. Victor recently updated the theme for our Facebook Live show. Originally Aired: September 2, 1991

 

(16) TSUNDOKU OR NOT TSUNDOKU? Most of us own books we’ve read and books we haven’t. Kevin Mims considers the importance of owning books we’ll never get around to finishing — “All Those Books You’ve Bought but Haven’t Read? There’s a Word for That” at the New York Times.

In truth, however, the tsundoku fails to describe much of my library. I own a lot of story collections, poetry anthologies and books of essays, which I bought knowing I would probably not read every entry. People like Taleb, Stillman and whoever coined the word tsundoku seem to recognize only two categories of book: the read and the unread. But every book lover knows there is a third category that falls somewhere between the other two: the partially read book. Just about every title on a book lover’s reference shelves, for instance, falls into this category.

(17) DISABLED PEOPLE DESTROY SF. Charles Payseur returns to review Uncanny in “Quick Sips – Uncanny #24 Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! [October Fiction]”.

It’s the second month of Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! As before, I’m breaking October’s offerings into two parts, the fiction and the poetry, and starting out with the six new stories exploring futures near and far. This month’s pieces definitely focus on some grim realities—hospitals and universities and families and cities where disabled people are not exactly the priority, or at least not in the ways they want. The stories look at characters trapped by circumstance and (largely) by tragedy, brought to a crisis because their situation is getting worse and worse. And in each case, they must make decisions either to sit down and be quiet or to fight back, to try to follow their own hearts. The works are often dark, often difficult, but ultimately I feel reaching for healing and for peace, for a space that the characters can have as their own, which is much more about freedom than confinement. To the reviews!

(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Outer Space” by Sabine Hossenfelder on YouTube is a video about space travel done by a singer whose day job is as a theoretical physicist.

[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jeffrey Smith, James Davis Nicoll, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Joe H.]

2018 Copper Cylinder Awards

Copper Cylinder Award

Copper Cylinder Award. Design created by Peter Halasz and Rebecca Simkin.

The winners of the seventh annual Copper Cylinder Awards have been announced by the Sunburst Award Society. The Copper Cylinder is an annual members’ choice award for Canadian literature of the fantastic.

The Copper Cylinder Award derives its name from what is considered the first Canadian scientific romance, A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, by James De Mille (1833-1880). All winners of the Copper Cylinder receive a unique, handcrafted copper cylinder trophy.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2018 Copper Cylinder Adult Award is Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson [Penguin Random House Canada].

From the publisher:
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who’s often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he’s also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can’t rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)–and now she’s dead.

Jared can’t count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can’t rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family’s life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat…and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he’s the son of a trickster, that he isn’t human. Mind you, ravens speak to him–even when he’s not stoned.

You think you know Jared, but you don’t.

EDEN ROBINSON is the author of Traplines, a collection of short stories, which won the Winifred Holtby Prize in the UK. Her two previous novels, Monkey Beach and Blood Sports, were written before she discovered she was gluten-intolerant and tend to be quite grim, the latter being especially gruesome because half-way through writing the manuscript, Robinson gave up a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit and the more she suffered, the more her characters suffered. Monkey Beach won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Son of a Trickster, the first instalment of her Trickster trilogy, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2017, she won the Writers’ Trust of Canada Fellowship. Eden Robinson lives in Kitimat, BC.

Young Adult Award

The 2018 Copper Cylinder Young Adult Award is shared by two works, Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko [ECW Press], and Weave A Circle Round by Kari Maaren [Tor Books].

From the publisher of Scion of the Fox:

Roan Harken considers herself a typical high school student — dead parents, an infected eyeball, and living in the house of her estranged, currently comatose grandmother (well, maybe not so typical) — but she’s uncovering the depth of the secrets her family left behind. Saved from the grasp of Death itself by a powerful fox spirit named Sil, Roan must harness mysterious ancient power . . . and quickly. A snake-monster called Zabor lies in wait in the bed of the frozen Assiniboine River, hungry for the sacrifice of spirit-blood in exchange for keeping the flood waters at bay. Thrust onto an ancient battlefield, Roan soon realizes that to maintain the balance of the world, she will have to sacrifice more than her life in order to take her place as Scion of the Fox.

S.M. BEIKO currently works in the Canadian publishing industry as a freelance editor, graphic designer, and consultant. Her first novel, The Lake and the Library, was nominated for the Manitoba Book Award for Best First Book, as well as the 2014 Aurora Award. Scion of the Fox is the first book in her Realms of the Ancient series.

From the publisher of Weave a Circle Round:

Freddy doesn’t want people to think she’s weird. Her family makes that difficult though: her deaf stepbrother Roland’s a major geek, and her genius little sister Mel’s training to be the next Sherlock Holmes. All Freddy wants is to survive high school. Then two extremely odd neighbours move in next door.

Cuerva Lachance and Josiah definitely aren’t normal. Neither is their house, which defies the laws of Physics. Neither is Freddy’s situation, when she suddenly finds herself stuck thousands of years in the past with her very, very weird neighbours. And that’s only the beginning.

KARI MAAREN is a Toronto-based writer, cartoonist, musician and university instructor who likes writing stuff about monsters, and who gets unreasonably upset when her students abuse the common apostrophe. Weave a Circle Round is her first book. The Sunburst Award Society also confers the annual juried Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic. Both awards celebrate the best in Canadian fantastic literature published during the previous calendar year.

For additional information about the Copper Cylinder Awards, Sunburst Award Society membership, and the voting process, please visit the website at http://coppercylinderaward.ca.

[Based on a press release.]

2018 Sunburst Award Winners

The Sunburst Award Society has announced the winners of the 2018 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic in the Adult, Young Adult, and Short Story categories.

Adult Award

The winner of the 2018 Sunburst Award for Adult Fiction is The Bone Mother by David Demchuk, [Chizine Publications]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

David Demchuk’s The Bone Mother invites the reader into the uncanny valley between the present and the past. A series of related stories, many of them set in Eastern Europe, chronicle the fates of humans and mythical creatures as they face a war that may be their undoing. The stories explore the boundaries of compassion and warn of the dangers of forgetting. As unsettling as the stories are, they lead the reader deeper into the woods like breadcrumbs. The language is beautiful and the characters as haunting as the archival photographs that illustrate the book. The Bone Mother is a unique achievement.

David Demchuk has been writing for print, stage, digital and other media for nearly 40 years. The Bone Mother, his debut horror novel, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Amazon First Novel Award, and a Shirley Jackson Award, as well as being longlisted for the Toronto Book Award. David has a special interest in queerness and monstrosity. His Cabbagetown back yard is home to a hive of curious but quick-tempered bees. He is quietly at work on a troubling new novel.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Adult Award were:

  • Omar El Akkad, American War [Penguin Random House Canada]
  • Terri Favro, Sputnik’s Children [ECW]
  • Fonda Lee, Jade City [Orbit]
  • Eden Robinson, Son of a Trickster [Penguin Random House Canada]

Young Adult Award

The 2018 winner of the Sunburst Award for Young Adult Fiction is The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline, [Dancing Cat Books]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is the story of young Frenchie, an Indigenous teen, and his companions, who are on the run from a society that wants their bodies — and their souls. The book brilliantly connects the legacy of residential schools to a dystopian post-climate-change future where only Indigenous people are able to dream. Dimaline’s novel reminds us of the power of storytelling and the importance of community, reinforced for the disenfranchised children by the wisdom of the heroic elder, Miigwans. The writing is painful yet beautiful, bleak but ultimately hopeful. In this era of reconciliation, Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves is a work of speculative fiction that resonates and stays with the reader long past the last page.

Cherie Dimaline is an author and editor from the Georgian Bay Métis Community. The Marrow Thieves has already been awarded The Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature and the U.S. Kirkus Award For Young Readers. Her first book, Red Rooms (Theytus Books, 2007), won Fiction Book of the Year from the Anskohk Aboriginal Book Awards. Her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy (Theytus Books, 2013), was short-listed for the 2014 Burt Award.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Young Adult Award were:

  • Charis Cotter, The Painting [Penguin Random House Canada]
  • Fonda Lee, Exo [Scholastic]
  • Kari Maaren, Weave a Circle Round [Tor/Forge]
  • Wendy Orr, Dragonfly Song [Pajama Press]

Short Story Award

The winner of the 2018 Sunburst Award for Short Story is “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” by Sandra Kasturi [The Sum of Us, Laksa Media]

The Sunburst Jury commented:

In a strong field with many outstanding stories, Sandra Kasturi’s “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” did for the jury what speculative writing does best, by using a fantastic/technological trope to explore the complexity of human relations and the texture of human life. Kasturi’s story is linguistically complex, economical, emotionally intense, and yet accessible, and it provokes recurring thoughts about our human predicaments.

Sandra Kasturi is a poet, writer and editor, and co-publisher of the World Fantasy and British-Fantasy Award winning press, Chizine Publications. Born in Estonia to an Estonian mother and a Sri Lankan father, she now lives in Canada. Sandra is co-founder of the Toronto SpecFic Colloquium and the Chiaroscuro Reading Series. Her work has appeared in publications such as On Spec, Prairie Fire, Tesseracts anthologies, Taddle Creek, ARC Magazine and others. Her two poetry collections are: The Animal Bridegroom and Come Late to the Love of Birds. Sandra is currently working on a new poetry collection as well as a new collection of her short fiction.

The other shortlisted works for the 2018 Short Story Award were:

  • Rich Larson, “Spiked” [Abyss & Apex, June 2017]
  • Karin Lowachee, “Meridian” [Where the Stars Rise, Laksa Media]
  • Rati Mehrotra, “Hacker’s Faire” [Cast of Wonders #239, March 2017]
  • Kate Story, “Animate” [Cli Fi: Canadian Tales of Climate Change, Exile]

Sunburst medallion.

Winners of the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic receive a medallion that incorporates the Sunburst logo. Winners of both the Adult and Young Adult Sunburst Award also receive a cash prize of $1,000, while winners of the Short Story Sunburst Award receive a cash prize of $500.

The Sunburst Award takes its name from the debut novel of the late Phyllis Gotlieb, one of the first published authors of contemporary Canadian speculative fiction.

SUNBURST JURORS: The 2018 Sunburst Award jury was comprised of Megan Crewe, Kate Heartfield, Dominik Parisien, Halli Villegas, and Heather Wood. Jurors for the 2018 short story awards were Candas Jane Dorsey, Emily Pohl-Weary, and Alexandra Renwick.

Jurors for the 2019 novel awards will be Greg Bechtel, Janie Chang, Susan Forest, Kari Maaren and Susan Reynolds. Jurors for the 2019 short story awards will be S.M. Beiko, David Demchuk, and Gemma Files.

Submissions of eligible works published in 2018 for the 2019 awards are now being accepted. See the Sunburst Award News Page for details.

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 10/14/18 There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Pixel

(1) WHO NOVELIZATION. The Irish Times profiles Dave Rudden, an Irish writer of Doctor Who tie-in fiction: “Meet the Irish author who is reinventing Doctor Who”. The article includes a sweet story about how Rudden dedicated one of the first 13th Doctor stories to an elderly lady and longterm Who fan, who was bullied by the nuns at her school for her love and science and SF.

At the invitation of the franchise’s custodians at Puffin and the BBC, he has written a new anthology of Doctor Who stories for kids (he has no idea why he was chosen beyond hypothesising that someone must have felt he would do the franchise justice). Get even the tiniest detail wrong – he is, of course, confident he hasn’t – and the internet will emit a mighty howl of outrage.

“I know I am stepping into an established canon,” says Rudden. “People have a preconceived notion as to what a Doctor Who short story should be. And I am little nervous about that. There are people who will say, ‘that’s not how [iconic Fourth Doctor] Tom Baker would speak . . . I hope I get it right. If not, I’ll take the criticism on board.”

Doctor Who: Twelve Angels Weeping represents another feather in the cap of a writer who has built a fanbase with his Knights of the Borrowed Dark fantasy saga (a TV adaptation is in the works). The collection also makes a small piece of sci-fi history. It’s the first Dr Who book to feature Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, rainbow braces and all.

(2) EMOTIONAL LIVES OF WRITERS. Peter M. Ball returns to the subject of “Writing and Shame” at Man Versus Bear.

…I’ve written about the connections between writing and shame before–the first time back in 2010, when I talked about the connection between shame, writing, and money, and more recently in 2013 when I pondered the narratives of shame that come with the gig of writing. I found myself hinting at it yesterday, talking about cohorts, and it comes up again and again when I start looking at my recurring anxieties.

I often talk about the fear inherent in being a writer, but often it should be phrased as shame: so much of the fear is a consequence of being ashamed at what’s achieved, or more often, what is hoped for.

It starts early, the moment you decide to start writing and the world conspires to tell you that decision is wrong. The terms by which your work will be valued are laid out for you in the rhetoric you hear as a constant refrain: There is no money in writing. Can i buy your work in a bookstore? You should try writing the next Harry Potter. Oh, what have you had published? 

(3) NO PREMIO MINOTAURO IN 2018. Ediciones Minotauro has issued a statement that the XV edition of the Minotauro Award will be given in 2019.

The Minotauro Award has been awarded since 2004, and is the one with the highest endowment among fantastic genre awards in Spanish. In 2004, the winner (León Arsenal , with Mascaras de Matar) was awarded 18,000 Euros, although, due to the crisis, that amount was reduced to 6,000 that Pablo Tébar won in 2017 with Nieve en Marte.

(4) ‘TIS THE HWA SEASON. The Horror Writers Association blog is counting down to Halloween. Here are a few highlights:

One of the main things to remember when world building, especially for horror, is to strike a balance between the suspension of disbelief and logic. If you’re creating a serial killer or monster with supernatural powers, for instance, there should be some limitations on what they can and can’t do so their victims have somewhat of a fighting chance, even if the odds are never in their favor.

“My name is Victoria Winters and my journey is beginning…a journey that will take me to a strange, dark house, high atop Widows’ Hill.  A house called Collinwood…”

So begins the first episode of “Dark Shadows” (DS), a popular 1960’s soap opera featuring an otherworldly cast of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, witches and other spooks germane to the Halloween season.  As each episode opens with a monologue to set the scene, so it opens with a view of “Collinwood,” the sprawling chateau where the show’s action unfolds.

The image of Collinwood, with its tower, dormers, and multiple chimneys, is as iconic as the vampire Barnabas. Although the interiors of the great estate were stage sets, the exterior of the house and the grounds belong to Seaview Terrace, a mansion in Newport, RI, where I have been privileged to spend Halloween in the company of other DS fans.  This Halloween will be our tenth in the house.  Over time, party attendance has grown from two-dozen people to nearly 100.

Before there were TV horror hosts, haunted houses, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, there were spook shows. Now a nearly forgotten bit of Americana, these once incredibly popular shows toured around the country on the movie theater circuit from the 1940’s through the 1960’s. In some ways the last vestige of vaudeville, they featured comedy, spooky magic, a little burlesque and often a séance. A half-century before it was a term, the spook shows were also on the cutting edge of “immersive” theater. The climax of every show was a “blackout sequence,” in which the audience was placed in total darkness, surrounded by supernatural phenomena they could see, hear and feel. They had all kinds of tricks to make that happen.

(5) HEAR KRUGMAN. Tyler Cowen interviews Paul Krugman in an episode of the “Conversations With Tyler” podcast — “Paul Krugman on Politics, Inequality, and Following Your Curiosity (Ep. 51)”.  The episode has a lot of sfnal content.  Krugman talks about a paper on interstellar travel he wrote in the early 1990s, and answers the question of “Star Trek or Star Wars?” by saying he doesn’t particularly like either show, but likes some of the speculation in Star Trek.  Krugman also discusses his love of Isaac Asimov, and said he became an economist because he wanted to be a psychohistorian, and then explains why Asimov’s psychohistory won’t work.  Finally, he says his favorite contemporary sf writer is Charles Stross, and his favorite Stross series are the Merchant Princes novels, which he says is “a type of development economics.”

(6) DEATH BY CHOCOLATE. Adweek promises “These Brazilian Candy Ads Are Undeniably Dark Yet Surprisingly Entertaining”.

“Chocolate World” for the Lacta 5Star bar is a series of ads where this community of confection is under siege by a raft of cookies, cocoa and caramel, the three ingredients in the candy. All of the spots grab your attention pretty quickly and, despite their graphic nature and dark storylines, are compelling to watch—but be forewarned, this might not be the candy advertising you’re used to.

In one ad, asteroids, in the form of delicious cookies, destroy everything in sight, resulting in rivers of caramel.

In another, an astronaut attempts to flee a massive baked boulder to no avail as a planet explodes into celestial caramel goodness.

And, in probably the most graphic spot in the set, a skier tries to outmaneuver an angry squirrel, only to have his head snipped by a tree before falling into a lake of caramel.

 

(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • October 14, 1926 — A. A. Milne’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh, was published.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and JJ.]

  • Born October 14, 1891 – Dorothy McIlwraith, Editor from Canada. She was the third editor of the long-running horror fiction and fantasy fiction venue Weird Tales, one of the earliest pulp magazines, and was responsible for buying some of the first published stories by Fritz Leiber and some of the earliest covers and interior art by Hannes Bok. She edited Weird Tales for more than fourteen years, starting in 1940 until the end of its publication in 1954. She also edited Short Stories magazine, an adventure-oriented pulp magazine. She was a finalist for the 1941 Retro Hugo for Best Short Form Editor.
  • Born October 14, 1916 – Jack Arnold, Actor and Director, best known as one of the leading filmmakers of 1950s science fiction films, whose works included Creature from the Black Lagoon, Tarantula, the Hugo-winning adaptation of Richard Matheson’s The Incredible Shrinking Man, and the Hugo-nominated It Came from Outer Space, for which the screenplay by Harry Essex was derived from an original treatment by Ray Bradbury (screen legend says that Bradbury wrote the screenplay and Harry Essex merely changed the dialogue and took the credit). He also directed several episodes of the TV series Science Fiction Theatre and It’s About Time. In 1985 he was given a special Saturn Award, the President’s Award, for his career contributions to science fiction cinema.
  • Born October 14, 1944 – Udo Kier, 74, Actor from Germany who emigrated to England, has appeared in more than 200 films, and has become a well-known face in genre movies (especially of the vampire variety), frequently cast as the villain. Some of his more notable appearances include Johnny Mnemonic, Blade, End of Days, Shadow of the Vampire, BloodRayne, Barb Wire, and Grindhouse. He has also done considerable voice work in animated series including recurring roles in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Beware the Batman.
  • Born October 14, 1946 – Katy Manning, 72, Actor from England, later Australia, who appeared in 77 episodes in three years playing Companion to the Third Doctor, a role she reprised with the Eleventh Doctor in 2010 in The Sarah Jane Adventures episode “Death of the Doctor”.
  • Born October 14, 1947 – David Day, 71, Writer and Artist from Canada known for numerous illustrated reference works in the Tolkien domain. Don’t where Tolkien falls for JJ but for me, he is a creature of Autumn, and I love the reference works about him and his fiction, so here’s an academic to my liking and here’s a few of his works: The Hobbit Companion (which I highly recommend), An Atlas of Tolkien, and his newest work, The Dark Powers of Tolkien.
  • Born October 14, 1953 – Richard Christian Matheson, 65, Writer of both horror fiction and screenplays, including the film Nightmare Cinema, the TV series Splatter, and a thankfully-unproduced miniseries of The Chronicles of Amber. He has had dozens of short fiction works published, and his only genre novel was nominated for a Stoker Award.
  • Born October 14, 1953 – Greg Evigan, 65, Actor and Singer who played the lead in William Shatner’s TekWar TV films and series, and had genre roles in the movies DeepStar Six, House of the Damned, Cerberus, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, and in episodes of the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, The Outer Limits, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • Born October 14, 1963 – Lori Petty, 55, Actor, Writer, and Director probably best known within the genre for her turn as the eponymous character in Tank Girl; she has an extensive genre acting history, including films Dead Awake, Route 666, Cryptid, and Bates Motel, guest roles in TV series The Twilight Zone, Alien Nation, Star Trek: Voyager, Gotham, and Freddy’s Nightmares, and voice parts in several animated series.
  • Born October 14, 1974 – Itoh Keikaku, Writer from Japan whose breakout 2007 novel Genocidal Organ won a Nihon SF Taisho Award (the Japanese equivalent of the Nebula) and is considered one of that country’s best SF novels of the last decade. Harmony, the sequel, won a Seiun Award and its English translation was a finalist for a Philip K. Dick Special Citation; the translation of his novella The Indifference Engine was a Shirley Jackson finalist; and his novel The Empire of Corpses won a Seiun. All three of his novels were adapted into anime films. His early promise was cut short by his death from cancer in 2009 at the age of 34.
  • Born October 14, 1980 – John Edgar Browning, 38, Writer, Editor, and Critic. It being that month, I’ve got an academic who focuses on the horror genre and vampires. He’s edited nonfiction anthologies of reviews and essays, such as Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms: Essays on Gender, Race, and Culture, and Graphic Horror: Movie Monster Memories, and co-written the work Zombie Talk: Culture, History, Politics.

(9) RUN AWAY! Mashable issues a warning with this news item — “Jon Favreau teases his Star Wars TV series with an alarming set photo”.

It’s time to pack it in, my fellow Star Wars fans. The atrocious(ly amazing) Holiday Special is officially canon.

Jon Favreau treated Instagram followers to a teasing visual nugget tied to his upcoming TV series, The Mandalorian. You might look at the photo and think, “So what? It’s just a funky Star Wars blaster, right?”

Right. And wrong. This image contains multitudes. Look upon it and weep, Star Wars faithful.

That’s not just any blaster, you see. That blaster contains multitudes. It bears a striking resemblance to the one an animated version of the notorious bounty hunter carried around in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, a made-for-TV assault on the senses driven by hilariously bad writing and excessive holiday schmaltz.

(10) MIB. SYFY Wire boosts the signal — “Tessa Thompson shares photo from new Men in Black set”.

With the sneak peeks Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth are giving us of the upcoming Men in Black film, we have to hope no one with a neuralyzer shows up at our door any time soon. The two have been doing an excellent job of teasing the film, from sharing their travels from the set to that of Avengers 4 to giving us an initial image of themselves as MIB agents. Now we have an even better idea of what the two will look like in the movie thanks to a photo Thompson shared on Instagram Friday from the set.

View this post on Instagram

Buds in Black. @chrishemsworth

A post shared by Tessa Thompson (@tessamaethompson) on

(11) SCREAM QUEEN. Leonard Maltin interviews “Jamie Lee Curtis on Her Return to Halloween.

At one point, she recalls making a conscious effort to leave the horror genre behind. Then the son of late producer Moustapha Akkad, who launched the Halloween films, convinced her in 2011 to attend an event to benefit a children’s charity called sCare dedicated to corralling horror fans, and stars, to fight poverty and homelessness among America’s youth.

She agreed and met her fans en masse for the first time. It made her realize she’d made the right decision, movie-wise, and that being scared could, indeed, be a good thing, with very positive vibes.

“I had a bucket,” she recalls. “People would come up with a hundred bucks and say, ‘I believe in what you’re doing. Thank you for those movies.’ It was crazy. It was fantastic. What I ended up getting back from that group is love—pure, beautiful love of the genre. Love of Laurie, love of the story, love of it all.”

(12) REFASHIONING SCI-FI. Dazed, in “New zine Vagina Dentata is exploring sci-fi through a feminist lens”, speaks to founder Smin Smith “about the importance of representation, reclaiming science fiction from the cis, white hands of Hollywood and how minorities are biting back in a post-Trump world.”

Hey Smin, can you start by telling us a bit about where you interest in sci-fi and fashion came from?
Growing up, I didn’t watch any science fiction or fantasy, but I loved designing as a child and would watch Alexander McQueen catwalks on YouTube, so this probably all stems back to the Plato’s Atlantis collection. I was 15 at the time and can remember having it in every sketchbook at school, finding a way I could incorporate it into every project – that’s how I discovered science fiction.

I went on to study at UCA (Epsom) and one of my first projects at university was a zine inspired by film culture, so I drew my favourite characters in collections from that season – Tom Ripley in Commes Des Garçons, Barbarella in Vivienne Westwood and Princess Leia in McQueen. Science fiction, fashion, and feminism have always been the biggest influences upon my creative practice (whether as a stylist or writer), and the concept evolved over the next few years and became the much more collaborative and photographic zine that you see today.

So what was your mission when launching Vagina Dentata Zine?
I wanted to explore the symbiotic relationship I saw between science fiction, fashion and feminism. Recent theories like Xenofeminism have proposed a shift in technology production away from white, cis men, and into the hands of minorities. This feels particularly poignant when you realise that sci-fi film employs less women than any other film genre (both in front and behind of the camera). The zine provides a platform for those excluded by Hollywood (women, LGBTQIA+, POC and non-binary creatives) to interact and engage with science fiction – so it’s both a love letter and a burn book to the genre that shaped me.

(13) BARREL OF LAUGHS. “Whisky Wonka-style tour creates a boozy wonderland” – the Calgary Herald tells an LA story.

… Hidden behind a Queen of Hearts painted wall where the eyes rotate to see who is walking into the warehouse-come-distillery in the heart of the Los Angeles Arts District is a wonderland of amusements and whisky….

…As we continue our journey, we enter the vast lab to hear about “Project One Night Stand.” In the middle of the room sits a lonely nightstand made in the 1880s from a now-extinct American chestnut. The team of beakerheads are trying to recreate a whisky that was aged in barrels matured in that American chestnut. To do that, they scour antique stores to find old furniture to chip into the reactor.

We move on to taste more spirits in a tent with first edition novels by H.G. Wells lining the walls, then to another room to drink from ornate tea cups. But then, the tour takes a spin. Serious … we spin on a carousel where someone in the dark starts reciting that creepy Willy Wonka Tunnel song … ”there’s no way of knowing … which direction we are going …” As it borders on creepy, the curtain opens to a new land and, yeah … more booze and it’s tasting better all the time.

(14) BURNING BOOKS. Carolyn Kellogg finds the mystery irresistible: “Who started the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Library? Susan Orlean investigates in her new book” in the Los Angeles Times.

Hundreds of L.A. firefighters fought the devastating fire.at downtown’s Central Library on April 29, 1986. Thousands of people contributed to the Save the Books campaign afterward. Millions heard the news that the library was burning and then that it was caused by arson. But more than three decades later, only Orlean was asking who did it and why, and wondering whether anyone today should care. In a reverse “Fahrenheit 451,” Orlean took a fire and turned it into a book.

Titled — aptly and ingeniously — “The Library Book,” it tells the story of the mysterious fire that burned 400,000 books while also tracing Orlean’s love of libraries, from trips with her mother to taking her son….

Tapping a concrete wall, she explained where the fire had started, in the stacks. Built as two secure concrete chutes within the original 1926 building, the stacks held hundreds of thousands of books and were connected by a catwalk for librarians. After the fire started — leaping across the catwalk from the first stack to the second — the chutes served as dual furnaces, books trapped inside with the fire.

“Their covers burst like popcorn. Pages flared and blackened and then sprang away from their bindings, a ream of sooty scraps soaring on the updraft. The fire flashed through fiction, consuming it as it traveled,” Orlean writes in her book. “It reached for the cookbooks. The cookbooks burned up. The fire scrambled to the sixth tier and then to the seventh. Every book in its path bloomed with flame.”

(15) SUPERHERO SPECTRUM. Here’s an interesting concept – where else would you find Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, the Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, and Sadness from Inside Out teamed together? “This Artist Sorted Famous Characters By Color And Here’s What She Found Out” at deMilked.

The artist said she tried to classify these pop culture characters to see how different shades and tones interact in a group of characters of supposedly the same color. “Unlike humans, fictional characters are very different from one another – they have different, sometimes very odd, forms, they are made of different unearthly substances, and lastly, they are, undeniably, different colors – even when they seem the same. Is the blue color of a Smurf the same as Megaman’s? I don’t think so,” said Linda about her project.

Check out the color-coded characters in the gallery below!

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

Fifth Annual PKD European SF Film Festival

The 5th Annual Philip K. Dick European Science Fiction Film Festival, which celebrates the talent of independent filmmakers and honors Philip K. Dick’s worldwide legacy, convenes at venues in Germany in late October and France in early November.

The festival will be held October 25-26 at L’Hybride and Inoui in Lille, France and November 1-2 at Film Club 813 e.V. in Cologne, Germany.

“Europe has a long tradition of integral and psychological science fiction,” said Daniel Abella, the founder and director of the festival. “Both Lille and Cologne have a rich cultural life and are popular areas for learning and appreciating this genre.” The event will also commemorate its namesake by attributing his work as a reflection of modern society. “Philip K. Dick foresaw the aspects of technology to free and liberate us,” said Abella. “If you look around at the technological advancements of our world, many of his stories have come to pass and the festival recognizes his vision. He understood that the fluid nature of reality and the lure of transhumanism is becoming a real phenomenon.”

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2018:

L’Hybride (18 Rue Gosselet 59000, Lille, France)

Short Films + Q&A: Reality Is An Illusion
7:00pm – 9:00pm

It’s A Clear Day

It’s a Clear Day (2017)
Director: María Vázquez
Run Time/Country: 14 min, Spain
Synopsis: A woman is planning on giving a lecture on the famous science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Everything seems like her everyday routine, except for a little excitement because of the event. But as time passes she will discover nothing is what it seems.

Gab (2018)
Director: Gazanfer Biricik
Run Time/Country: 10 min, France
Synopsis: A journalist who was charged by her diary to write an article about a victim killed in an attack organizes an interview with the sister of the deceased in a pub.

The Photographer (2017)
Director: Bertrand Normand
Run Time/Country: 12 min, France
Synopsis: A woman photographs statues of antique gods in the gardens of the Versailles palace. Through her camera, she perceives the presence of a male statue who has come to life and is lurking around her.

The Pipers (2013)
Director: Ammar Quteineh
Run Time/Country: 15 min, France
Synopsis: An army psychiatrist is puzzled by a case of a French soldier who returns from the war in Afghanistan and claims that he’s a plant. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Piper in the Woods.

Tous les jours (2017)
Director: Philippe Orreindy
Run Time/Country: 14 min, France
Synopsis: A company director is under the perverse psychological influence of her superior. But is it real or is it an hallucination caused by her anguish?

The Summoned (2017)
Director: Mathias Couquet
Run Time/Country: 29 min, France
Synopsis: Paris, 1920. Four veterans of the Great War painfully try to recover from this dreadful experience. But for them, the horror is only beginning. For in the midst of their dreams, a dark and sinister entity has arisen.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors.

Short Films + Q&A: Invisible Realms
9:00pm – 11:00pm

The Bay (2017)
Director: Joris Laquittant
Run Time/Country: 23 min, France
Synopsis: Every year during the summer solstice, the Bay transforms into desert sands and the tides stop. This year, when a hunter is charged with battling the forces of nature, nothing goes as planned.

Mimesis (2017)
Director: Patrick Lee
Run Time/Country: 4 min, USA
Synopsis: Nothing is what it seems in the cycling of the natural world.

Le Flottement (2017)
Director: Philippe Gariepy
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Canada
Synopsis: A woman suffering from dementia disappears from her rest home. During the search, her daughter discovers mysterious clues.

A Forest (2017)
Director: Thomas Geffrier
Run Time/Country: 15 min, France
Synopsis: A young woman meets a couple at a private party and leaving with them, she finds herself trapped in some sort of twilight zone from which she cannot escape.

The Devil’s Remix (2017)
Director: Hugues Sanchez
Run Time/Country: 44 min, France
Synopsis: A surrealist remix of Les Diaboliques (1955) directed by Henri Georges Clouzot.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors and the first Audience Award.
Inoui (6 rue de l’Egalité, 59155 Fâches-Thumesnil, Lille, France)

Virtual Reality Experience

7:00pm – 11:00pm

Eclipse (2018)
Director: Aymeric Favre
Run Time/Country: 40 min, France
Synopsis: An immersive “hyper-reality” experience and a glimpse into tomorrow’s cinema. Contrary to most VR experiences dedicated to entertainment, this exhibition is a four-player interactive science fiction short film enhanced by physical effects, full body awareness and a total freedom of movements.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2018:

L’Hybride (18 Rue Gosselet 59000, Lille, France)

Short Films + Q&A: The Eschaton Approaches
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Those Who Can Die (2017)
Director: Charlotte Cayeux
Run Time/Country: 18 min, France
Synopsis: A 15-year-old girl enters a strict boarding school. Around her pupils are playing and attending classes with faded eyes and the violence of the supervisors is visible through their obsequious look. One day she meets a classmate and understands their true destiny.

SOMA (2018)
Director: Christel Morvan
Run Time/Country: 9 min, Belgium
Synopsis: A tribute to Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ showing the challenges and risks of living in a world of artificial pleasure.

Cyborgs. Should We Be Better Than We Are? (2017)
Director: Victoria Sutton
Run Time/Country: 23 min, USA
Synopsis: Restoring human senses and capabilities is almost universally accepted, yet enhancing human capabilities beyond human norms is highly controversial. This short documentary explores this question and what it means to be human.

Fraktaal (2017)
Director: Julius Horsthuis
Run Time/Country: 4 min, Netherlands
Synopsis: A world within worlds.

December 17 (2016)
Director: Yuji Hariu
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Japan
Synopsis: In the near future, a family comes face to face with a dangerous secret about their sons.

Metta Via (2017)
Director: Warren Flanagan
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Canada
Synopsis: Set in the future, a young woman wakes up in a mysterious temple-like room and must figure out her purpose.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors.

Short Films + Q&A: The Darkness Returns
9:00pm – 11:00pm

Shelter (2017)
Director: Daniel Andrew Wunderer
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Austria
Synopsis: A wanderer in the wasteland seeks shelter in an abandoned trailer, where he discovers he corpse of a boy with strange wounds.

MayDay (2016)
Director: Sébastien Vani?ek
Run Time/Country: 13 min, France
Synopsis: A man subject to violent hallucinations must overcome the imminence of death during his extradition flight towards United States.

I Came from the Future (2018)
Director: Dave Lojek
Run Time/Country: 4 min, Germany
Synopsis: A man writes his suicide note but finds there are more questions than answers.

Rabbid Jacob (2017)
Director: Donovan Alonso-Garcia
Run Time/Country: 22 min, France/Belgium
Synopsis: Two meteorites have hit Brussels. There is little time left for Jacob to restore order and moral in the depths of a city in complete loss.

Leftovers & Leftlovers (2017)
Director: Raitis Abele
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Latvia
Synopsis: After years of madness, a man seeks out his past and confronts his feminine and masculine alter egos.

Sound From the Deep (2017)
Director: Antti Laakso, Joonas Allonen
Run Time/Country: 29 min, Finland
Synopsis: An international research group is searching natural resources from the Arctic Ocean. They pick up a strange underwater sound from far north, and start to follow it to the uncharted waters. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors and the second Audience Award.

Inoui (6 rue de l’Egalité, 59155 Fâches-Thumesnil, Lille, France)

Virtual Reality Experience
7:00pm – 11:00pm

Eclipse (2018)
Director: Aymeric Favre
Run Time/Country: 40 min, France
Synopsis: An immersive “hyper-reality” experience and a glimpse into tomorrow’s cinema. Contrary to most VR experiences dedicated to entertainment, this exhibition is a four-player interactive science fiction short film enhanced by physical effects, full body awareness and a total freedom of movements.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2018:

Film Club 813 e.V. (Hahnenstraße 6 50667, Cologne, Germany)

Short Films + Q&A: War and Paranoia
7:30pm – 9:30pm

Shelter

Shelter (2017)
Director: Daniel Andrew Wunderer
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Austria
Synopsis: A wanderer in the wasteland seeks shelter in an abandoned trailer, where he discovers he corpse of a boy with strange wounds.

The Super Recogniser (2017)
Director: Jennifer Sheridan
Run Time/Country: 11 min, UK
Synopsis: A normal guy has the very special talent of 90% facial recollection. He never forgets a face and you better hope he doesn’t knows yours. Starring Jacob Anderson (Game of Thrones) and Ritu Arya (Humans).

Sound From the Deep (2017)
Director: Antti Laakso, Joonas Allonen
Run Time/Country: 29 min, Finland
Synopsis: An international research group is searching natural resources from the Arctic Ocean. They pick up a strange underwater sound from far north, and start to follow it to the uncharted waters. Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft.

Hunters and Gatherers (2018)
Director: Andreas Ramm
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Germany
Synopsis: The year is 2044. A violent conflict permeates throughout the country. Various zones are ridden by chaos and terror. To put down riots, a regime sends troops but does not shy away from biological warfare.

Nazi VR (2017)
Director: David Freid
Run Time/Country: 17 min, Germany
Synopsis: The High Tech Prosecution of a WWII Nazi Guard with virtual reality.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors.

Short Films + Q&A: Reality Is An Illusion
9:30pm – 11:00pm

It’s a Clear Day (2017)
Director: María Vázquez
Run Time/Country: 14 min, Spain
Synopsis: A woman is planning on giving a lecture on the famous science fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Everything seems like her everyday routine, except for a little excitement because of the event. But as time passes she will discover nothing is what it seems.

The Pipers (2013)
Director: Ammar Quteineh
Run Time/Country: 15 min, France
Synopsis: An army psychiatrist is puzzled by a case of a French soldier who returns from the war in Afghanistan and claims that he’s a plant. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short story Piper in the Woods.

Instant Realities (2017)
Director: Andreas Z. Simon
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Germany
Synopsis: A businessman feels followed by fitting puzzle pieces on the street. Reality seems to fade away and a greater mystery begins.

Gallery of Lost Trades (2018)
Director: Will Kubica
Run Time/Country: 8 min, Germany
Synopsis: The year is 2068. A gallery owner leads a journalist through “The Gallery of Lost Trades”. By means of impressive paintings it depicts the historical downfall of whole fields of trades and professions.

Alchemy (2017)
Director: Brandon Polanco
Run Time/Country: 14 min, USA
Synopsis: A failed everyman begins working through pages and pages of questions. As time begins to elongate, the man finds himself tormented and more and more isolated. He battles the unknown ultimately transcending into a heightened reality, discovering a new life existing between multiple worlds, both familiar and otherworldly.

Mental Health (2018)
Director: Michael Carolan
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Ireland
Synopsis: A young worker is sent to be mentally assessed after expressing disillusionment with his job, leading to a sinister revelation about his very existence.

First Day Kosmos (2018)
Director: Thomas Kuhling
Run Time/Country: 18 min, Germany
Synopsis: Under the vast expanse of a cosmic sky, a psychiatric guardian is on his way to his farmhouse in a secluded region where he is surprised by the unannounced visit of his old friend who escaped from a psychiatric ward.

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2018:

Film Club 813 e.V. (Hahnenstraße 6 50667, Cologne, Germany)

Short Films + Q&A: Human All To Human
7:30pm – 9:30pm

December 17 (2016)
Director: Yuji Hariu
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Japan
Synopsis: In the near future, a family comes face to face with a dangerous secret about their sons.

SOMA (2018)
Director: Christel Morvan
Run Time/Country: 9 min, Belgium
Synopsis: A tribute to Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ showing the challenges and risks of living in a world of artificial pleasure.

Cyborgs. Should We Be Better Than We Are? (2017)
Director: Victoria Sutton
Run Time/Country: 23 min, USA
Synopsis: Restoring human senses and capabilities is almost universally accepted, yet enhancing human capabilities beyond human norms is highly controversial. This short documentary explores this question and what it means to be human.

The Very Near Future (2017)
Director: Sebastian Egert
Run Time/Country: 5 min, Germany
Synopsis: In the very near future, a man tries to order a pizza online.

The Ash: Safe Haven (2017)
Director: Marty Stalker
Run Time/Country: 17 min, UK
Synopsis: A deadly volcanic ash cloud. A 12-year-old boy besieged by the bloodthirsty infected. When the ash falls, terror rises.

Brainbloodvolume (2016)
Director: John Carter
Run Time/Country: 17 min, Germany
Synopsis: Inspired by the bizarre actual life events of Dutch librarian and medical student Hugo Bart Huges, this stylistic interpretation of the essential moments at which Huges followed through with an operation he theorized would lead to a permanent state of higher consciousness – through the ancient mind-altering practice of “trepanation.”

Post-Film Q&A:
The screening will be followed by an in-depth discussion with directors.

Short Films + Q&A: The Alchemical Wedding
9:30pm – 11:30pm

APEX (2018)
Director: Stuart T. Birchall
Run Time/Country: 4 min, UK
Synopsis: Emergence of a hybrid human-alien consciousness from the void.

Metta Via (2017)
Director: Warren Flanagan
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Canada
Synopsis: Set in the future, a young woman wakes up in a mysterious temple-like room and must figure out her purpose.

Genesis (2018)
Director: Michael Tekle
Run Time/Country: 9 min, Germany
Synopsis: The CEO of a biotech corporation suffers from an incurable disease. With the help of a doctor, he creates an android with autonomously growing A.I. uploads of his entire memory. However, his search for eternal life might end faster than he thinks.

The Replacement (2018)
Director: Sean Miller
Run Time/Country: 16 min, USA
Synopsis: On election night, a janitor feels cheated out of a life he might have lived when his own clone becomes the president. He goes on a bender to seek justice, encountering new forms of prejudice, dismissal, and classicism. In a society where the morality around cloning is dividing the masses, physically looking like the newly elected president has its own dangers.

Ghostcode (2017)
Director: Patrick Defasten
Run Time/Country: 9 min, Germany
Synopsis: Advancements in sonic warfare lead to a net-born artificial intelligence.

Voyager (2017)
Director: Kjersti Helen Rasmussen
Run Time/Country: 8 min, Norway
Synopsis: A shooting star falls down over the arctic island of Svalbard. The Global Seed Vault gets an unexpected visit. Hunger knows no boundaries.

Pura Energia (2018)
Director: Francisco Garcia Mateos
Run Time/Country: 15 min, Spain
Synopsis: They thought it was a distant future. They thought they knew disaster. But only a few of us were aware of what surely would happen.

Pure White (2018)
Director: Sven Windszus
Run Time/Country: 3 min, Germany
Synopsis: The protagonist is an anatomy model who awakens in a seemingly perfect world. The fact that she must live as a “damaged” being in such an ideal environment amplifies her pain. She converses with her creator in an attempt to find answers.

I Came from the Future (2018)
Director: Dave Lojek
Run Time/Country: 4 min, Germany
Synopsis: A man writes his suicide note but finds there are more questions than answers.

Back and Forward INC. (2014)
Director: Martin Demmer
Run Time/Country: 13 min, Germany
Synopsis: Switching between visual metaphors and a near future possible way of living created by the company Back and Forward INC., a program is launched for the modern society that nobody has to fear the effect of the burnout syndrome any longer.

Attack Of The Cyber Octopuses (2017)
Director: Nicola Piovesan
Run Time/Country: 20 min, Estonia/Italy
Synopsis: Neo-Berlin, 2079. A dark city held by mega corporations where the only way to enjoy life is by connecting into cyberspace. Here, a team of detectives are investigating a new menace: an army of cyber octopuses that are terrorizing the government.

2019 Tomorrow Prize for LA Student SF Writers Now Taking Entries


The 2019 Tomorrow Prize is accepting entries from students attending high school in Los Angeles County. The deadline to submit is February 18, 2019.

Contest entries must be original short science fiction stories, not fan fiction, of 1,500 words or less.

Sci-Fest L.A. and Light Bringer Project seek to nurture imagination, creativity and excellence in writing amongst Los Angeles high school students. Science fiction writing provides a unique opportunity for students to develop the ideas and narratives that will shape the future of humanity from how we address pressing scientific, social, philosophical, and environmental issues to inspiring us to develop new technologies and explore outer space. We are seeking narratives that are imaginative, original, thoughtful, well told, and well written.

Five finalists’ stories will be dramatically read on stage by sci-fi celebrities during LitFest Pasadena on Sunday, May 19, 2019, followed by an awards presentation.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive $250, with second and third place winners each receiving $150 and $100, respectively.

This 2018 contest’s 1st Place story was “Addiction” by Kalila Papanikolas of Westridge School.

The Tomorrow Prize for short science fiction was created by Sci-Fest LA in 2014 “to identify and encourage the next generation of science fiction writing talent.”

Entrants may also choose to be considered for the “Green Feather Award” presented by Los Angeles Audobon.

[The “Green Feather”] award recognizes an outstanding science fiction short story by a teen author [or team of authors] that centers on overcoming today’s environmental challenges. Strong entries will highlight the importance of ecology and biodiversity in some way, and we would be especially excited to see the local ecology, geography, culture, and environmental concerns of Southern California emphasized. We also recognize that issues of social and environmental justice strongly overlap with those concerning wildlife conservation, sea level rise, water conservation, climate change, and energy. Keeping that in mind, a story about a single neighborhood or school overcoming an environmental challenge would be just as valid as a story that tackles a much broader scale.

The “Green Feather” winner will receive a $250 cash prize and a one year Los Angeles Audubon membership.

Stories are eligible for only one prize but stories submitted for The Green Feather Award will be considered for other prizes if they are not a Green Feather Award winner.

Complete rules and submission guidelines are on the The Lightbringer Project’s Tomorrow Prize/Roswell Award information page.

2019 Roswell Award Contest Taking Entries


The 2019 Roswell Award for short science fiction by adults (18+) is accepting entries through January 28, 2019.

The Roswell Award was created in 2014 to identify, encourage and promote up-and-coming science fiction writing talent among adults worldwide. The 2018 contest winner was “Pod” by Kit Gower.

Entries must be original science fiction short stories no longer than 1500 words, by a writer over the age of 18.

Sci-Fest L.A. and Light Bringer Project seek to identify and nurture new science fiction writing talent in all corners of the globe. Science fiction writing provides a unique opportunity for writers to develop the ideas and narratives that will shape the future of humanity from how we address pressing scientific, social, philosophical, and environmental issues to inspiring us to develop new technologies and explore outer space. And of course we’re excited to see stories that entertain. We are proud to be taking a leadership role in developing the next generation of science fiction writers.

Four to six finalists will be chosen and their stories read dramatically by celebrity guests in a special performance at LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, May 18, 2019 followed by an awards presentation.

First, second, and third place winners will be chosen from the finalists. Other special prizes will also be presented.

    • First Place: $500 USD
    • Second Place: $250 USD
    • Third Place: $100 USD
    • Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award presented by Artemis Journal and the Hollywood Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Hollywood NOW): Publication in Artemis Journal and $100 USD from Hollywood NOW.
    • Best Translated Science Fiction Story: This award is for a story that has been translated into English, and will go to a writer and translator team.

[The “Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award”] recognizes a science fiction story that embraces feminist themes and has a strong female protagonist. Top entries will exemplify excellence in feminist storytelling, while capturing the complexities of their characters.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award must indicate this on their cover page / their submission email. Stories submitted for this award will be considered for other prizes if they are not a Women Hold Up Half the Sky winner. Stories are eligible for only one prize.

Rules and submission guidelines are on the The Lightbringer Project’s Tomorrow Prize/Roswell Award information page.