Commando And British Weekly Comic Swap Meet

Saturday 25th September 

Bushey and Oxhey Scout Hut
Park Ave. Bushey, Watford.
WD23 2BA

By James Bacon: Join comic book fans at the 7th Commando Comic Swap meet, an old school event in suburban Watford where thousands of British weeklies and digest comics will be on sale, at very affordable prices. 

Being organized with profits going to the Scout Hut, the volunteers organizing the event welcome dealers, and with tables only a tenner, it’s a very affordable way to sell comics. 

Entry is a £1. 

Alan Hebden will be along for the day. Alan who has written for Commando, Victor, Starlord, 2000AD and most recently had a story in The Battle special from Rebellion, and created fan favorites Major Easy, El Mestizo and Fighting Mann. 

With Commando Comics trading for 50p, and weeklies at a variety of prices, not only is it a chance to fill up your collection, but an opportunity for new collectors to make a decent start on doing so while finding or reconnecting with incredibly good story telling and fabulous art. 

This as a small but excellent comic event offering exceptionally good value, and a level of friendly helpful expertise with most sellers collectors themselves or only too happy to engage and chat about shared interest and passion.  

(Further details can be found on the Commando Comic Collectors Facebook group, but you have to join the group to get access.)

Emails From Lake Woe-Is-Me — Fit the Eighth

Melanie Stormm

[Introduction: Melanie Stormm continues her humorous series of posts about the misdirected emails she’s been getting. Stormm is a multiracial writer who writes fiction, poetry, and audio theatre. Her novella, Last Poet of Wyrld’s End is available through Candlemark & Gleam. She served as guest editor for issue 43.4 of Star*Line, an issue focused entirely on Black voices in the speculative arts. Find her in her virtual home at coldwildeyes.com. Wipe your feet before entering.]

CHEKOV’S GUN SHOOTS BACK IN TIME AND HITS CHEKOV

Hello All. How’s your weekend been?

It looks like we’re back to that weird closet activity. I don’t have much to say about the following events except that there comes a time in every draft when a writer will be tempted by the plot of another. I find the truth is that most every book you’ll ever write will require you put one word after the other at some point. What’s your approach when you’re wistfully thinking of all the other stories you could be writing?

Without further ado: the email from Writer X. Figure it’s also time for me to re-up the disclaimer that all typos, grammatical and ethical choices are hers.


Dear Gladys,

I have been haunted this week.

Mostly by the idea that I might be writing the wrong book. I’m 1,060 pages behind schedule. Writing the wrong book has to be what my problem is. Every time I sit down to write Fenchin’s story, I start thinking about all the other stories I’d rather be writing.

For example, the other day at lunch I told myself I was going to write one hundred pages, but went to buy some tide pens at Mr. Morgan’s instead. While I was nosing around the detergent and stain removal aisle, I suddenly imagined a whole story of tiny little people who live in a grocery store and fight ping pong battles on the shelves.

And then, when I went to get an emergency sundae at McDonalds, I imagined that the new brick exterior was actually a castle and I imagined that it was a very big castle (maybe I was still thinking about the little people and so I kept the castle to scale.) Anyways, the castle is SO big that it fits an ENTIRE COUNTRY in it!

Isn’t that so creative????

What if I’m supposed to be writing THOSE stories???

It’s haunting me, Gladys. I’m losing sleep over it. Ms. B___ isn’t talking to me and has threatened a restraining order after my clairvoyant palm reading. That’s depressing too. All I did was tell her that her palm indicates that—within a year, a mysterious fire will rage over her house and this entire neighborhood following an army of Neil Gaiman Golems and ghostly moose and that, as a result of her up-cycled wine bottle fountains melting, she’ll discover her youngest isn’t really at University of Ohio studying pet programming but that he took her money and went to Thailand to start a mouse circus. And that she has abominable breath.

Meanwhile, the other way I’m being haunted is just by that thing in my walk-in closet that keeps jiggling the door handle.

I went to BAM again in hopes of triggering my ability to write and I looked at all the new books out and got depressed and a little bit angry. My book should be up there with those other books but I can’t seem to get it written.

Anyway, I felt so despondent that I went over to the self-help section and looked at all their books on how to write and bought five of them and put them on my new credit card. I started to read one of them but my eyes just kept crossing except for this one part where they talk about CHEKOV’S GUN!!!!

Get ready for this Gladys. This is REAL writing technique. I’m not sure you’ll understand so I’ll explain it very carefully.

Apparently, Chekov was a writer, or a gun collector, whose guns were always taken down from the wall and fired in the third act and essentially that means that the rules to writing are that you have to put a gun somewhere on one of the walls and then you’ve got to SHOOT AT SOMEBODY IN THE THIRD ACT!!!! And it doesn’t matter who you shoot it at. Or if they’re also pointing a gun at you. Or if you miss. Or if you just shoot it to make some noise. YOU JUST HAVE TO SHOOT IT!!!! Isn’t this amazing?

SO THAT’S HOW BRANDON SANDERSON DOES IT.

I knew that there was a secret formula to writing a book!!! Now I’m realizing that all I have to do is put a lot of guns in the backstory so that they all fire at the end!! Magical guns, of course.

But that’s hard. Because that means I have to know how the story ends at the beginning!! I’m going to do something entirely new, Gladys, I’m going to write the end first!!! Then, when I have all the guns go off, I’ll know what to put in the beginning!! Then this backstory won’t be so boring and besides I won’t keep doubting that I’ll ever finish this book because I’ll have finished the book FIRST!!!

I’m starting not to get along with my house again. It’s getting to be the full moon and it’s getting that feeling that it gets that makes me want to be anywhere but here. I never had this feeling when C____ was alive. I think it’s because I’m alone. I think I need to either get a roommate or some beanie babies.

Also, I’m really busy right now trying to unravel this mystery of who was in my yard last week. I went over to my evil neighbor A____’s house and confronted her and demanded my shoe back but she wasn’t home. Instead I ended up talking to her mumble rap nephew, R____. I was going to accuse him of standing in my back yard with the bowler hat, but he has a head full of thick, long dreads and can’t fit the bowler hat on his head. We tried. So it couldn’t have been him. Besides, he’s really nice and I don’t think his foot would fit my missing croc, either.

So now I’m still missing my right croc and I have this mysterious hat. I’m sending you a picture of it. Never mind the chicken feathers on it, the rain still hasn’t washed them all away since The Incident. My question is, who would be wearing this hat and standing in my backyard and why would they take my right croc???

I’m down one and a half pairs of shoes in three weeks. Anyways, it’s getting late and that thing that’s in my closet upstairs has started jiggling the door again. I think I’m going to sleep down here. The good news is that R____ said he’s starting a little handyman business so he’s going to come over tomorrow and look at the closet door and see if he can fix it.

At least The Society seems to be leaving me alone.

I wish C____ were still here. It was cruel what Brian told me. That C____ might not be dead. It goes to show you what a stupid person Brian is. If C___ were here, things would be very different. I would probably still be writing True Blood fan fiction.

Tomorrow IT’S GONNA BE A BIG WRITING DAY!!! I’ll work on the last 171.9 pages of my book! I’ll send you pages after that but keep in mind that everything will be in REVERSE ORDER. I don’t have to warn you about spoilers because when you read it from the end, you’ll still have to find out what the beginning and middle are so that will be interesting for you. Also, things will grow more and more calm as you progress through the story.

In the future, I’m going to sell a writing book about writing a fantasy saga starting at the end. I know that it’s going to work because I’ll have finished writing the book at the very beginning of the process. So that means I’ll also have had the confidence to finish the writing book about writing a book backwards.

Maybe I should start writing the writing book about writing a book backwards first. It’s like a Chekov 21 Gun Salute all the way down!!! This is gonna be easy!!!

To celebrate, I’m going to search for my croc. It’s custom made!!!

xox,
X

Pixel Scroll 9/19/21 File Me To The Moon, Let Me Play Among The Scrolls

(1) FAN HISTORY PROJECT ZOOM SERIES RESTARTS. Fanac.org is resuming their Fan History Project Zoom series this month. They’ll begin by interviewing Juanita Coulson on September 25 at 2:00 Eastern (11:00 a.m. Pacific, 7:00 p.m. in London). For reservations, send an RSVP to fanac@fanac.org. See the rest of the Zoom FanHistory schedule here.

Juanita Coulson in 1998.

Juanita Coulson on fandom, filkdom, fanzines, Star Trek and other aspects of her life in fandom.

Juanita Coulson has been a marathon fanzine editor, a mainstay of the filk community, and a professional writer. She’s a little bit larger than life, and among other honors, has been a DUFF winner (2014), a Hugo winner (1965), Worldcon Fan GoH (1972), NASFiC GoH (2010), Filk Hall of Fame inductee (1998) and a Big Heart Award winner (2012). Juanita has been widely known in filk music circles since the 1950s for both her singing and her songwriting, and was instrumental in establishing filk as a part of SF conventions. 

For thirty-three years, she co-edited the fanzine Yandro with her husband Buck, publishing a massive 259 issues. Yandro was nominated for a Hugo Award every year for ten years in a row, from 1958–1967. It won the award in 1965, thus making Juanita Coulson one of the very first women editors to be so honored. 

Juanita’s first novel, Crisis on Cheiron, came out in 1967.

In this zoom history discussion, expect stories of 60+ years of fandom, how Juanita beat the steam boat whistle at NaSFic, mimeography, her Star Trek fanzines, and maybe even a song or two.

(2) A RACE BETWEEN EDUCATION AND CATASTROPHE. The Guardian published an abridged version of Elif Shafak’s PEN HG Wells Lecture, delivered on September 17 at the Ripples of Hope festival: “How the 21st century would have disappointed HG Wells”.

… In his writings, Wells conveyed a plethora of futuristic prophecies, from space travel to genetic engineering, from the atomic bomb to the world wide web. There was no other fiction writer who saw into the future of humankind as clearly and boldly as he did.

Were he to have been alive at the very end of the 20th century, what would he have made of that world? I am especially curious to know what he would have thought about the unbridled optimism characteristic of the era, an optimism shared by liberal politicians, political scientists and Silicon Valley alike. The rosy conviction that western democracy had triumphed once and for all and that, thanks to the proliferation of digital technologies, the whole world would, sooner or later, become one big democratic global village. The naive expectation that, if you could only spread information freely beyond borders, people would become informed citizens, and thus make the right choices at the right time. If history is by definition linear and progressive – if there is no viable alternative to liberal democracy – why should you worry about the future of human rights, or rule of law, or freedom of speech or media diversity? The western world was regarded as safe, solid, stable. Democracy, once achieved, could not be disintegrated. How could anyone who had tasted the freedoms of democracy ever agree to discard it to the winds?

Fast forward, and today this dualistic way of seeing the world is shattered….

(3) GILLER PRIZE. The Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist was released September 8. There is one work of genre interest:

The complete longlist is here.

(4) RIGHT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH. Jill Zeller outlaws “10 Words/Phrases I Never Want to Hear or See Again” at Book View Café. For example:

Cancel culture. (Circling back to “culture”.) Despise this phrase. Just. Simply. Despise. Another example of “cultural appropriation”, largely pulled out on Twitter by the right, again, to describe being deleted from Twitter for trolling and spreading theories about nanobots in vaccines. A popular song is given the prize for its origin in what is called “African-American Vernacular English” (Wiki). Sound familiar? (See “woke” above).

(5) LIGHT ON, LIGHT OFF. “The Most Important Device in the Universe – Blinking Tubes Without Function New Compilation” shared by YouTuber Major Grin. (Via Craig Miller.)

This Device has been spotted in numerous science-fiction movies and tv shows. It is the ultimate re-used prop, and there is not a single of its numerous appearances where its purpose would be explained or hinted at. The prop is described as “dual generators with rotating neon lights inside an acrylic tube; light-controlled panel with knobs and buttons.” or simply as “blinking tubes without function”. The first time we see it is in the Regula lab in “Star Trek II Wrath of Khan”. They are also visible in the Enterprise-A’s shuttlebay in “Star Trek V” They also appear in a number of Star Trek Episodes…. The tubes appear in other science fiction series and movies as well, such as “V” (the 1983 miniseries), “The Last Starfighter”. “The Incredible Hulk Returns” (1988 TV movie), “The Flash: The deadly Nightshade” (1990) , “Star Crystal” 1986 “Alien Nation”, as well as “Airplane II” (with William Shatner, who would again encounter it in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier which he directed and starred in. It also appeared in “Lois & Clark” episode 2×08 with Denise Crosby.

(6) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1952 – Sixty-nine years ago on this evening, the Adventures of Superman first aired in syndication. It was syndicated by Motion Pictures for Television, now known as Warner Bros. Television. It was developed by Whitney Ellsworth, DC Golden Age editor and writer, and Robert Maxwell, best known by acquiring the rights to what became Lassie and becoming very wealthy by doing so. Primary cast were George Reeves playing Clark Kent/Superman, with Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, Phyllis Coates as  Lois Lane and John Hamilton as Perry White.  It would last six seasons totaling one hundred four episodes. Half were in color, half weren’t. Reception was generally was quite positive with Variety noting that the “Filming is top-notch.”  The suicide of George Reeves led to the end of the series. And yes, I know the conspiracy theories that he didn’t shoot himself. 

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 19, 1911 — William Golding. Though obviously best known for the Lord of The Flies novel, I’m more intrigued by the almost completed novel found in draft after his death,The Double Tongue which tells the story of the Pythia, the priestess of Apollo at Delphi. (Died 1993.)
  • Born September 19, 1922 — Damon Knight. Author, editor, critic. Kate Wilhelm who was his wife is also regrettably no longer with us either. His 1950 short story, “To Serve Man” was adapted for The Twilight Zone. His first story, “The Itching Hour,” appeared in the Summer 1940 number of Futuria Fantasia which  was edited and published by Ray Bradbury.  It’s hard to briefly sum up his amazing genre career but let me note he was a member of the Futurians and and a reviewer as well as a writer. Novels of his I’ll single out are Hell’s Pavement, The Observers and Special Delivery but don’t think I’m overlooking his brilliant short stories. The Encyclopedia of SF notes that “In 1995, he was granted the SFWA Grand Master Award – which from 2002 became formally known, in his honour, as the Damon Knight Grand Master Award. He was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2003.” (Died 2002.)
  • Born September 19, 1928 — Adam West. Best known as Batman on that classic Sixties series, he also appeared in 1964’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars as Colonel Dan McReady. He last played the role of Batman by voicing him in two animated films, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face. He also played The Gray Ghost in an episode of the Kevin Conroy voiced Batman: The Animated Series, “Beware the Gray Ghost”. (Died 2017.)
  • Born September 19, 1933 — David McCallum, 88. His longest running, though not genre, role is pathologist  Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on NCIS where he appeared in every episode of the first fifteen seasons. Genre wise, he was Illya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and the British series Sapphire & Steel where he was Steel and Joanna Lumley was Sapphire.  He played the lead in a short-lived U.S. version of The Invisible Man. He was Dr. Vance Hendricks on Babylon 5’s “Infection” episode.
  • Born September 19, 1936 — Hilary Bailey. Co-writer of The Black Corridor novel with Michael Moorcock, to whom she was married at the time. She wrote four other genre novels, and a double handful of short fiction. She edited three issues of the Seventies New Worlds anthology with Charles Platt. (Died 2017.)
  • Born September 19, 1947 — Tanith Lee. I hadn’t realized that she wrote more than ninety novels and three hundred short stories in her career. She even wrote two of the Blake’s 7 episodes as well. I am more fond of her work for children such as The Dragon Hoard and The Unicorn Series than I am of her adult work. She has garnered Stoker and World Fantasy Awards for Lifetime Achievement.  (Died 2015.)
  • Born September 19, 1952 — Laurie R. King, 69. She’s on the Birthday Honors list for the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, featuring Sherlock Holmes as her mentor and later partner. Hey it’s at least genre adjacent.  She’s also written at least one genre novel, Califia’s Daughters.
  • Born September 19, 1972 — N. K. Jemisin, 49. Her most excellent Broken Earth series has made her the only author to have won the Hugo for Best Novel in three consecutive years. Her “Non-Zero Probabilities” was nominated for the Best Short Story losing out to Will McIntosh‘s “Bridesicle” at Aussiecon 4. “Emergency Skin” I’m pleased to note won the Best Novelette Hugo at CoNZealand. Yeah I voted for it. 

(8) NEW MESSAGE. In the Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Julia Mio Isuma profile Mamoru Hosada, director of Belle, an anime whose message of “female empowerment” is designed to be contrasted with the message in many anime and manga that “often portrays women as  weak, vacuous, and hypersexualized.” “In Japan’s anime world, ‘Belle’ creates rare space for female power”.

… The message has resonated in Japan during a time when growing numbers of women are calling for change — most recently laid bare through a string of sexist comments by high-ranking Olympic officials that drew fierce backlash….

(9) FASHION STATEMENT. An observation about tonight’s Emmy Awards:

(10) GOM JABBAR. At IGN, “Dune: Exclusive Scene Breakdown with Denis Villeneuve” – video at the link.

Dune director/co-writer Denis Villeneuve exclusively breaks down the pivotal Gom Jabbar test scene featuring Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) and Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling). Dune opens in the US on October 22, October 21 in the UK and in Australia on December 2, 2021.

(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Pitch Meeting” on Screen Rant, Ryan George says the second Percy Jackson film is just as loosely connected to the original novels as the first film, and features a prophecy that the producer skips over because it’s just like every other prophecy in a YA movie, a son of Poseidon who gets seasick, and a brother of Percy Jackson who is a Cyclops but wears sunglasses which mean his single eye is covered by the bridge of the glasses.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, Craig Miller, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

2021 Neffy Awards

The National Fantasy Fan Federation Speculative Fiction Awards for 2021, known as the Neffys, have been announced.

The 2021 winners are:

BEST NOVEL

(tie)

  • Hussar by Declan Finn
  • Machine by Elizabeth Bear

YOUNGER READERS

(tie)

  • The Unbearable Heaviness of Remembering by L. Jagi Lamplighter
  • The Shadows of Alexandrium by David Gerrold

BEST COMIC/MANGA/ANIME

  • The Cosmic Warrior

BEST TV SHOW

  • Stargirl

BEST MOVIE

(tie)

  • 2067
  • Vivarium

BEST PRO ARTIST

  • Brad Fraunfelter

BEST BOOK EDITOR

  • Toni Weisskopf

BEST LITERARY-CRITICAL OR FAN-HISTORICAL WORK

  • First Fandom Annual 2020 Celebrating Robert Madle by John Coker and Jon Swartz

BEST FAN WRITER

  • Jeffrey Redmond

BEST FAN ARTIST

  • Alan White

BEST FAN WEBSITE

  • Fanac Fanhistory Project

BEST FAN EDITOR

  • Justin E.A. Busch

BEST NON-N3F FANZINE

  • Event Horizon

BEST N3F FANZINE

  • Origin

N3F President George Phillies said: “Three cheers for the winners! As always, to avoid invidious comparisons, we do not announce vote totals or the order of finish other than for first place.”

2021 ENnie Awards

The 2021 ENnie Awards and Judges Spotlight winners were announced online from Gen Con on September 17.

The ENnie Awards are an annual, fan-based juried award system for all tabletop RPGs. The ENnies were created in 2001 as an annual award ceremony, hosted by the leading D&D/d20 system fan site, EN World in partnership with Eric Noah’s Unofficial D&D 3rd Edition News.

JUDGES’ SPOTLIGHT WINNERS

BEST ADVENTURE

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST AID/ACCESSORY – DIGITAL

Gold Winner

  • DNGNGEN, Stockholm Kartell & Ockult Örtmästare Games

Silver Winner

BEST AID/ACCESSORY – NON – DIGITAL

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST ART, COVER

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST ART, INTERIOR

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST CARTOGRAPHY

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST ELECTRONIC BOOK

Gold Winner

  • Brancalonia – Spaghetti Fantasy Setting Book, Acheron Games
      Authors: Mauro Longo, Andrea Macchi, Max Castellani, Edoardo Cremaschi, Giovanni De Feo, Luca Mazza,
    Mala Spina, Alessandro Savino, Jack Sensolini, Umberto Spaticchia.

Silver Winner

BEST FAMILY GAME / PRODUCT

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST FREE GAME / PRODUCT

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST GAME

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST LAYOUT AND DESIGN

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST MONSTER/ADVERSARY

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST ONLINE CONTENT

Gold Winner

  • DNGNGEN, Stockholm Kartell & Ockult Örtmästare Games

Silver Winner

BEST ORGANIZED PLAY

Gold Winner

  • A Rough Guide to Glamour, Jonstown Compendium
    Authors: Chris Gidlow, Mike Hagen, Nick Brooke, Michael O’Brien, Jeff Richard, Greg Stafford

Silver Winner

BEST PODCAST

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST PRODUCTION VALUES

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST RPG RELATED PRODUCT

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST RULES

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

 BEST SETTING

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

  • Brancalonia – Spaghetti Fantasy Setting Book, Acheron Games
      Authors: Mauro Longo, Andrea Macchi, Max Castellani, Mauro Longo, Andrea Macchi, Max Castellani, Edoardo Cremaschi, Giovanni De Feo, Luca Mazza, Mala Spina, Alessandro Savino, Jack Sensolini, Umberto Spaticchia

BEST SUPPLEMENT

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

BEST WRITING

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

Gold Winner

Silver Winner

Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards 2021 Finalists

The judging panel’s choices for the 2021 Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards 2021 finalists have been announced at Parsecs and Parchment.

BEST SHORT FICTION

  • You Perfect, Broken Thing by CL Clark
  • Yellow and the Perception of Reality by Maureen F. McHugh

BEST NOVELLA

  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
  • Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark

BEST SERIES

  • Dominion of The Fallen by Aliette de Bodard
  • The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

BEST DEBUT

  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
  • Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

BEST BLURRED BOUNDARY

  • The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  • Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

BEST SCIENCE FICTION

  • Goldilocks by Laura Lam
  • The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

BEST FANTASY

  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
  • The Midnight Bargain by CL Polk

The book critics responsible for this set of honors are –

McIlvanney Prize 2021

The 2021 McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year and the Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Book of the Year were presented on September 17 at the Bloody Scotland festival in Stirling, Scotland.

McIlvanney Prize for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year

  • Craig Russell, Hyde

The McIlvanney Prize recognizes excellence in Scottish crime writing, and includes a prize of £1,000 and nationwide promotion in Waterstones.

Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Book of the Year

  • Robbie Morrison, Edge of the Grave

Similar to the McIlvanney Prize, Scottish roots are a must, either being born in Scotland or living there, and setting their books there.

The winner is awarded £500 and a trophy sponsored by The Glencairn Glass.

Pixel Scroll 9/18/21 Me And My Pixel, Scrolling Down The Fan Venue

(1) SPACE OPERA. Stars Between, the 20-minute opera on the Voyager missions that E. Lily Yu wrote the libretto for, with Steven Tran composing, recently became available on Seattle Opera’s website along with other operas from the Jane Lang Davis Creation Lab. Yu won the Astounding Award for Best New Writer in 2012. “At Seattle Opera, young artists push a 400-year-old art form forward” at Crosscut.

…Created over the course of 21 weeks — via Zoom and during socially distanced, masked rehearsal sessions — this year’s eight Creation Lab operas will be streamed on the Seattle Opera website, in two separate bills, starting Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.

The inaugural cohort’s 20-minute creations use traditional opera vocals to deal with raw issues in fresh ways or take innovative approaches to storylines and orchestration. The dramatic opera Blaze depicts the personal losses caused by terrifying wildfires. If only I could give you the sun, a nonbinary/transgender retelling of the Icarus myth, centers generosity and joy instead of hubris and calamity. The existential opera Stars Between tells the story of the Voyager space mission with the help of ’80s synths and a vocoder (along with some Ariana Grande inspiration). And in Flush, the soprano portrays a girl running into a public bathroom — and the mezzo-soprano plays the toilet who sings back to her. 

Yu and Tran’s work is the first one performed here: “2020/21 Creation Lab Performances Part 2”.

(2) CARRIBEAN SFF PODCAST. Jarrel De Matas invites fans to listen to The Caribbean Science Fiction Network, “A celebration of all things fantasy, folklore, and science fiction.”

Want to learn more about Caribbean fantasy, folklore, speculative, and science fiction? Interested in established and emerging Caribbean voices about all things sf? Then tune in to The Caribbean Science Fiction Network. In this podcast I showcase emerging and established Caribbean voices who use sf genres to explore future states of Caribbean identity. Through these genres, the writers redefine Caribbean futurity and what it means to be Caribbean.

The most recent episode features a discussion with Karen Lord: ?“Imagining a Caribbean future of health”.

How can literature illuminate matters of public health and Caribbean futures? Listen to Barbadian writer, Karen Lord, discuss her latest short story “The Plague Doctors” which is eerily prophetic in its portrayal of an island bearing the brunt of a contagious disease. Through a blending of the hard sciences and the social sciences, Lord urges us to read not just for entertainment but for social change.

The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor.fm, iHeartRadio, Podchaser, and Breaker.

(3) AFROFUTURISM. In a post for Axios, “Afrofuturists imagine space in 2051”, Russell Contreras provides an extensive roundup about the subgenre.

…Details: Afrofuturism describes an alternative place for Black people in space or a fantasy setting, or in relation to technology that allows one to escape slavery and discrimination.

Once an underground movement, Afrofuturism today enjoys a popular fan base with the blockbuster movie “Black Panther” and a new exhibit at the Oakland Museum of California….

The Oakland exhibit is discussed in full detail in the San Francisco Chronicle: “’Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism’ collapses space and time to envision a Black future”.

…“Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism,” which will be on view through Feb. 27, showcases work across mediums, dating from the early days of the Black American experience to the present. 

The Afrofuturism movement “is about collapsing time and space, so what happened in 1919 is just as relevant as what happened in 2019,” Harden explained. “You can understand that Black folks’ mere presence of life and living is in part resisting this impossibility that’s facing them, which is life, in a world that is fully anti-Black.” 

“Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism” is the museum’s first new exhibition since the start of the pandemic. It was scheduled to open in October, but public health orders forced the museum to suspend in-person operations from March 2020 to June. 

Rhonda Pagnozzi, a curator at the East Bay institution since 2017, served as lead curator, working with Oakland-born Harden, a doctoral candidate in the African American studies department at UC Berkeley. The museum had been at work on the project before the protests over the police killing of George Floyd erupted last summer and worked with more than 50 Black artists and historians in creating the exhibit. 

“As a non-Black curator, it was critical on this project to center the voices of Black creatives,” said Pagnozzi, who is white. 

To mount the exhibition, new walls were erected to create more intimate spaces, and the museum’s 7,600-square-foot Great Hall was painted with darker tones, primarily black and grays. The effect makes each installation more striking, as the exhibits contrast with the simple and muted nature of the space.  

The exhibit engulfs a visitor immediately with a hypnotizing sound installation, “Mothership Calling,” by Pittsburgh composer Nicole Mitchell, and a mural, “Radio Imagination,” by San Francisco artist Sydney Cain, both created in 2020. The mural aims to capture the idea of a collapse of time and space, featuring visuals of ancestors of the African diaspora while being abstract enough that it feels like something part of a distant future….

(4) SAY THEIR NAMES. Lise Andreasen asks, “Did you know I have a Soundcloud? Currently the correct (?) pronunciation of more than 50 names. Did I get someone wrong? Did I miss someone people often get wrong?” Listen here – “Say It Right. If you want to give any feedback, contact Lise here. (And now I know the right way to pronouce Lise Andreasen!)

(5) HEAR BISHOP. On October 7, ReadSC’s “On My Mind” series will present Brock Adams and Michael Bishop. Register for the free online event at Eventbrite. Begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Brock Adams‘s first novel, Ember, won the South Carolina First Novel Prize in 2016 and was published the following year by Hub City Press. His short fiction has appeared in Best American Mystery Stories, The Sewanee Review, Bacopa Literary Review, and several other journals….

Michael Lawson Bishop is an award-winning American writer. Over four decades & thirty books, he has created a body of work that stands among the most admired in modern sf & fantasy literature…. 

(6) NIGHTMARE ALLEY. “Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley Finally Gets Its First Trailer” and Yahoo! News gives it an introduction:

Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming film Nightmare Alley is highly anticipated for a few reasons. The most obvious one is, well, it’s a del Toro film. But the cast comes in a close second for this dark ‘40s noir tale. Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn complete the film’s ensemble cast. It feels like 84 years since we first found out about this adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 book of the same name. Believe it or not, the initial announcement hit way back in December 2017. And now, nearly four years later, we finally got the trailer. And it was indeed worth the long (and pandemic affected) wait….

(7) SAVING BOOKS. Andrew Porter says his comment about salvaging water damaged books, left on the New York Times article “He Was Swept Down a Sewer Pipe: ‘I Just Let the Water Take Me’”, is getting a lot of upvotes. (Click for larger image.)

(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • 1965 – Fifty-six years ago on this evening , Get Smart! first aired on NBC. Created by Buck Henry and Mel Brooks, this would be the first scripted television series for either of them. It had a small core cast consisting of Don Adams, Barbara Feldon and Edward Platt. It would run for five seasons, the last being being on CBS, consisting on one hundred and thirty-eight episodes. A movie, The Nude Bomb (retitled The Return of Maxwell Smart when it ran on TV as obviously those audiences are sensitive), followed, and then later on Get Smart, Again!, another film aired. A mid-Nineties revival series, Get Smart, with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon lasted but seven episodes. Edward Platt who played The Chief in the original series had died, so he wasn’t part of it. Adams would later do many a commercial using his Maxwell Smart persona. You can see his ad for Savemart New York City here.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born September 18, 1884 — Gertrude Barrows Bennett. She’s been called a pioneering author of genre fiction. She wrote a number of fantasies between in the late 1910s and early 1920s, and has been called “the woman who invented dark fantasy”. Her short story, “The Curious Experience of Thomas Dunbar” which was published under G.M. Barrows in Argosy is considered first time that an American female writer published an SF story using her real name. I’m pleased to say that the usual suspects are heavily stocked with her works.  (Died 1948.)
  • Born September 18, 1917 — June Foray. Voice performer with such roles as Cindy Lou Who, Natasha Fatale and Rocky the Flying Squirrel. She also provided the voice of Lucifer the Cat from Disney’s Cinderella. She also did a lot of witches such as Looney Tunes’ Witch Hazel which you can hear thisaway. She was instrumental in the creation of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature twenty years ago. OGH has a detailed remembrance here. (Died 2017.)
  • Born September 18, 1939 — Frankie Avalon, 82. He first graced the SFF realm with an appearance on Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea followed by being in the Panic In Year Zero film and then in the Bondian spoof Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. His last two genre one-offs were on Fantasy Island and Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Well, and there was the teenage horror bloodfest The Haunted House of Horror.
  • Born September 18, 1944 — Veronica Carlson, 77. She’s best remembered for her roles in Hammer horror films. Among them are Dracula Has Risen from the Grave,  Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed and The Horror of Frankenstein. She also shows up in Casino Royale as an uncredited blonde. She also appeared in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode “The Ghost Who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo”.
  • Born September 18, 1946 — Struan Rodger, 75. He voiced the Face of Boe in the Tenth Doctor stories “New Earth” and “Gridlock”. He returned to the series as Clayton in the Twelfth Doctor story, “The Woman Who Loved” and voiced Kasaavin in Thirteenth Doctor story, “Skyfall”.  He was also Bishop in Stardust, and voiced the Three-Eyed Raven in The Game of Thrones’ “The Lion and The Rose” and “The Children”. 
  • Born September 18, 1946 — Nicholas Clay. Here for playing Lancelot on Excalibur. He did two earlier horror films, The Damned and Terror of Frankenstein, and he was The Prince in Sleeping Beauty. For television work, he’s done The Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Hound of the BaskervillesZorroThe New Adventures of Robin HoodVirtual MurderHighlander and Merlin. (Died 2000.)
  • Born September 18, 1948 — Lynn Abbey, 73. She’s best known for co-creating and co-editing with Robert Lynn Asprin (whom she was married to for 13 years) the quite superb Thieves’ World series of shared-setting anthologies. (Now complete in twelve volumes.) Her Sanctuary novel set in the Thieves’ World universe is quite excellent. I’ve not kept up with her latter work, so y’all will not to tell me how it is. Most of the Thieves’ World Series is available from the usual digital suspects.
  • Born September 18, 1984 — Caitlin Kittredge, 37. Known for  for her Nocturne City series of adult novels which I’d not heard of before this, and for The Iron Codex, a series of YA novels, but I think her best work is by far the Black London series. She’s penned a Witchblade series at Image Comics, and the excellent Coffin Hill series for Vertigo. 

(10) GOOD HOUSECREEPING. In the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri knows you have to clean up your house, and provides tips from Poe, Shirley Jackson, Smaug, and Thanos! “Goblincore? Cottagecore? Here are some more -cores, as long as we’re doing this.”

  • Thanoscore: Have eliminated half of items in house at random; was attempting Kondocore, but something went very wrong.

(11) WORTH A SECOND GLANCE? [Item by Mike Kennedy.] This list includes quite a few genre films, some of which are arguably the exact opposite of “brilliant.” “26 Overlooked Movies to Watch This Fall” in The Atlantic.

Aeon Flux (2005, directed by Karyn Kusama)

Undoubtedly one of the oddest blockbusters ever produced by a major studio, Kusama’s adaptation of the cult ’90s MTV series was critically derided and somewhat disowned by its director, who said it had been reedited for commercial appeal. If that’s the case, her cut must have been unimaginably bizarre, because the final version is a visually giddy, borderline-incomprehensible sci-fi actioner loaded with intriguing ideas of how our utopian future could go awry. Charlize Theron stars as the raven-haired, ultra-athletic warrior fighting to take down her future government; she eventually uncovers a conspiracy that helps explain both the cloistered world she lives in and the hazy dreams she has of another life in the distant past. Kusama has made better movies, such as Girlfight and The Invitation, but even her biggest flop is overflowing with more cool ideas than most summer tentpole releases.

(12) OUT FOR A PENNY, OUT FOR A POUND. “Britain Signals Intent to Revert to the Imperial System” reports the New York Times.

The British government said it was taking steps to return to its traditional system of imperial weights and measures, allowing shops and market stalls to sell fruits and vegetables labeled in pounds and ounces alone, rather than in the metric system’s grams and kilograms, a move it hailed as an example of the country’s new post-Brexit freedoms.

…Since at least medieval times, the English have used their own set measurements, including inches, feet, stones, miles and acres, many of which are still used in the United States. But for decades, the British government had been pushing people to use the metric system, used in most of the world and developed using decimalized metric standards during the French Revolution.

Supporters of the metric system say its use is necessary for companies to compete globally, since so many countries use it. Those passionate about the metric system also point to the fact that Britain began its switch to the metric system in 1965, eight years before it joined the European Union. Others said there were more pressing issues to focus on, like cuts to public services.

(13) SLOW-PONY EXPRESS. Interesting to realize that crossing the U.S. by plane in thirty days would have been a speed to aspire to in 1911. See a gallery of close-up photos of the aircraft that tried to do it in “Wright EX Vin Fiz” at the National Air and Space Museum website.

110 years ago this month, Calbraith Perry Rodgers began the first crossing of the United States by airplane. Rodgers departed New York on September 17, 1911, in his Wright EX biplane Vin Fiz with the hopes of crossing the U.S. in thirty days or less to claim a $50,000 prize from publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. His endeavor was supported financially by the Armour Company, makers of the grape-flavored soft drink called Vin Fiz. While the flight took him 49 days and he did not earn the prize money, he did go down in history as the first person to cross the U.S. by airplane when he arrived in Pasadena, California, on November 5.

(14) A WHIFF OF HALLOWEEN. I’m including the link to Burke & Hare’s Halloween Scented Candles because they had the foresight to label their product page “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” And as you know, we’re all Bradbury all the time here. (Don’t get excited when you see every candle is marked “sold out” — a note at the top of the page says they’ll restock on September 22.)

(15) OUT FOR A SPIN. A step forward for space tourism: “SpaceX capsule returns four civilians from orbit, capping off first tourism mission,” reports CNN. (See video of the landing at SpaceX – Launches.)

Four people returned to Earth from a three-day extraterrestrial excursion aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule on Saturday evening, marking the end of the first-ever flight to Earth’s orbit flown entirely by tourists or otherwise non-astronauts.

“Thanks so much SpaceX, it was a heck of a ride for us,” billionaire and mission commander Jared Isaacman could be heard saying over the company’s livestream.

The tourists were shown watching movies and occasionally heard responding to SpaceX’s mission control inside their fully autonomous spacecraft before it began the nail-biting process of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. After traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour, the spacecraft used Earth’s own thick blanket of air to slow itself down, with the outside of the craft reaching temperatures up to 3,500º Fahrenheit in the process.

The Crew Dragon capsule, which is designed not to allow temperatures to go past 85º in the cabin, used its heat shield to protect the crew against the intense heat and buildup of plasma as it plunged back toward the ocean. During a Netflix documentary about the Inspiration4 mission, Musk described a capsule going through reentry as “like a blazing meteor coming in.”

This is not a video of the landing.

(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Untitled Earth Sim 64” by Jonathan Wilhelmsson, a woman is faced with existential crisis after learning that the universe is an untitled simulation. This is the latest short sff film distributed by DUST.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, E. Lily Yu, Paul Di Filippo, Estee, Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Jim Janney.]

2021 Ignyte Awards

The 2021 Ignyte Awards winners were announced at FIYAHCON on September 18 in an online ceremony hosted by Ashia Monet.

The awards “seek to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the current and future landscapes of science fiction, fantasy, and horror by recognizing incredible feats in storytelling and outstanding efforts toward inclusivity of the genre.”

BEST NOVEL – ADULT

  • Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery Books/Saga Press)

BEST NOVEL – YA

  • Legendborn – Tracy Deonn (Margaret K. McElderry Books)

BEST IN MG

  • Ghost Squad – Claribel A. Ortega (Scholastic)

BEST NOVELLA

  • Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi (Tordotcom)

BEST NOVELETTE

  • The Inaccessibility of Heaven – Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • “You Perfect, Broken Thing” – C. L. Clark (Uncanny Magazine)

BEST IN SPECULATIVE POETRY

  •  “The Harrowing Desgarrador” – Gabriel Ascencio Morales (Strange Horizons)

CRITICS AWARD

  • Stitch @ Stitch’s Media Mix

BEST FICTION PODCAST

BEST ARTIST

BEST COMICS TEAM

  • Parable of the Sower – Written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings (Abrams ComicArts)

BEST ANTHOLOGY/COLLECTED WORKS

  • A Phoenix First Must Burn – ed. Patrice Caldwell (Viking Books for Young Readers)

BEST IN CREATIVE NONFICTION

THE EMBER AWARD

For unsung contributions to genre

  • Dhonielle Clayton

THE COMMUNITY AWARD

For Outstanding Efforts in Service of Inclusion and Equitable Practice in Genre

  • #PublishingPaidMe – L.L. McKinney & Tochi Onyebuchi

The winners were chosen by an open public vote on a shortlist selected by the Ignyte Awards Committee, 15 BIPOC+ voters made up of FIYAHCON staff and previous award winners, of varying genders, sexualities, cultures, disabilities, and locations throughout the world.

Return To The Wastelands Of Old Man Logan In Brand-New Series Of Wastelanders Comics

Podcast Connecting Variant Cover by STEVE MCNIVEN

Return to the post-apocalyptic Wastelands of Old Man Logan this December in five all-new stories set in the Marvel future where heroes have fallen, villains have won, and fan favorite characters defy all odds to survive. These five one-shots by all-star creators including writers Steven S. DeKnight, Ethan Sacks, Rich Douek, and Torunn Grønbekk will focus on Wolverine, Hawkeye, Doctor Doom, Star-Lord, and making their first appearance in the Wastelands, Black Widow.

DeKnight, known for his work on Netflix’s Daredevil and Wolverine: Black, White & Blood, will lead the return alongside artist Ibrahim Moustafa in Wastelanders: Wolverine, an all-new story set in the days after the conclusion of the original Old Man Logan, as he fights once again to save the people of the Wastelands who have been crushed under the heel of the Red Skull and Bruce Banner. The super villains united and took out most of the world’s super heroes decades ago, and while the man known as Logan attempted to live a life of peace, he had to pop the claws once again to do what he does best! But saving the day looks different with the Baby Hulk under his care. Is Logan doing the right thing by protecting the progeny of the Hulk or dooming what’s left of the war-torn world? Logan may not have long to ponder if he is crushed by the adamantium armor of his newfound enemy Downfall!

“It’s such a rare, bloody joy to be able to transport readers back to the universe of Old Man Logan in the one-shots for Wastelanders: Wolverine and Wastelanders: Black Widow,” DeKnight said. “Old friends, new foes, and quite a few surprises await. You don’t want to miss this one!”

Wastelanders mastermind Ethan Sacks, writer of both Old Man Hawkeye and Old Man Quill, is also back with artist Ibraim Roberson bringing readers a never-before-told story of Hawkeye’s training with Stick—the man formerly known as Daredevil—in Wastelanders: Hawkeye. Clint Barton’s sight may be gone, but his will to avenge is stronger than ever, and with the training and expert guidance of Matt Murdock, arrows will fly again! But what is Murdock’s actual target? And how will this change Hawkeye’s path in the Wastelands?

The Mighty Valkyries writer Torunn Grønbekk and Julius Ohta explore the complex nature of everyone’s favorite tyrant in Wastelanders: Doom! Doctor Doom helped wipe out the heroes on the Day the Villains Won, but even as he rules his domain in the Wastelands, a greater destiny calls to him. When a mysterious power blocks his oversight of a particular region, what he discovers will have ripple effects across the Wastelanders stories.

Writer Rich Douek (Superman: Red and Blue) makes his Marvel Comics debut alongside artist Brent Peeples in Wastelanders: Star-Lord. The legendary Star-Lord has fallen on hard times. With the Guardians of the Galaxy disbanded, Peter Quill returned to Earth to find it a wasteland unlike anything he’s seen across the stars – heroes dead, villains in power. While he’s taken out one threat, others remain in the Wastelands, and Star-Lord’s own desire to assuage his guilt for being off-world during the calamity will land him right in the middle of another. Will Quill overcome the mysterious force waiting for him at the site of his lost love’s death? Or is she not really dead at all?

“I’ve been a huge fan of Marvel’s Wastelands setting ever since the original Old Man Logan series, and it’s been an honor to contribute to it with Wastelanders: Star-Lord,” Douek said. “Both the new podcast series by Ben Percy, and Old Man Quill from Ethan Sacks and Robert Gill inspired me to really dive into what makes Peter Quill tick, and to send him on a thrilling adventure in this grim and gritty version of the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait for readers to come along for the ride and see what we’ve cooked up!”

Bookending the saga, DeKnight will team up with artist Well-Bee to introduce the Wastelander’s take on Natasha Romanoff in Wastelanders: Black Widow. The Lizard King has grown monstrous and deadlier than ever as the lord of his southern domain. But when rumor breaks that critical information is believed to be stored in his impenetrable fortress, only the greatest spy of all is up to the infiltration: the deadly Black Widow! But who is she, and how has she survived this many decades in the Wastelands undetected? 

Since Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s legendary 2008 Wolverine story arc, the universe of Old Man Logan has gripped readers with its hard-hitting stories in multiple spinoff titles and a hit podcast series. Don’t miss the latest evolution of this fascinating saga when this all-new group of Wastelanders adventures hit stands in December.

See the series cover art following the jump.

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