Women Hold Up Half the Sky

By John Hertz:  (reprinted from No Direction Home 2)  It’s Women’s History Month in the United States.  Here are some people and events worth thinking about.

Ruth and Esther are the only two women with books named for them in the Bible (i.e. the protocanonical Bible; Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians also include Judith).

Atusa, wife of Darius the Great (522-486 B.C.E.), is credited with inventing the Persian script.

Aspasia of Miletus (470-410 B.C.E.), the partner of Pericles, made her home an intellectual center, and extraordinarily established a girls’ school.

Mary (i.e. the mother of Jesus) is the only woman named in the Koran.

Hypatia of Alexandria (350-415) was the first known woman mathematician.

The first Muslim after the Prophet was a woman, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (555-619).  The person to whom the first compiled copy of the Koran was given to keep and preserve was a woman, Hafsah bint Umar (605-665).

Murasaki Shikibu (973-1014) wrote the first novel in the world, The Tale of Genji (1012).  Kawabata Yasunari (1888-1972) in his Nobel Prize lecture (Literature, 1968) called it “the highest pinnacle of Japanese literature….  down to our day there has not been a piece of fiction to compare with it….  wide and deep … nourishment for poetry … fine arts … handicrafts … landscape gardening.”  Nine centuries after it was written, the great Arthur Waley (1889-1966) put it into English (1933), earning from Jorge Borges (1899-1986; “The Total Library”, 1939) “Genji, as translated by … Waley, is written with an almost miraculous naturalness….  I dare to recommend this book to those who read me.”  For a guide I recommend The World of the Shining Prince (I. Morris, 1964; the Shining Prince is Genji).

Li Ch’ing-chao (1084-1185) has been called the greatest Chinese woman poet.

We were the guests of those on swaying lotus seats.
They spoke in splendid language
Full of subtle meanings;
They argued with sharp words over paradoxes.
We drank tea brewed on living fire.

Although this might not help the Emperor to govern,
It is endless happiness.

Two of the greatest rulers in history were women, Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) of England and Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of the United Kingdom.  Sir John Neale’s Queen Elizabeth (1934; after 6 Feb 52, Queen Elizabeth I) remains unsurpassed.  These two women, not only strong and powerful, but wise, have naturally been splashed by some, but as Elizabeth said (speech to joint delegation of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, 1566), “How have I governed since my reign?  I will be tried by envy itself.  I need not to use many words, for my deeds do try me.”

Jane Austen (1775-1817) has a claim to Greatest Author in History, her six novels against Lady Murasaki and Shakespeare (1564-1616).

“Pride,” observed Mary [Bennet], who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, “is a very common failing, I believe.  By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary.  Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously.  A person may be proud with-out being vain.  Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us [Pride and Prejudice ch. 5 (1813)].”

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852).  As senior class vice-president at a high school over 95% black, I thought an Uncle Tom was a toad — then I read the book.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first woman physician in the U.S. (M.D. 1849).

Harriet Tubman (1822-1913), born into slavery, escaped and then on the Underground Railroad in thirteen missions rescued seventy people: William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879) called her “Moses”; she never lost a passenger: later, with the Union Army, she was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the Civil War, guiding the Combahee Ferry raid (1863) which freed seven hundred.  Afterward she was active for women’s suffrage.  She was the first black woman on a U.S. Postage stamp.

Edith Wharton (1862-1967) was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize (Fiction; for The Age of Innocence, 1920).

Marie Curie (1867-1934) was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (Physics, 1903), and is the only woman so far to win more than one (Chemistry, 1911).

Frances Perkins (1882-1965) was the first woman U.S. Cabinet member (Secretary of Labor 1933-1945, i.e. throughout F.D. Roosevelt’s presidency; The Roosevelt I Knew, 1946).

St. Teresa of Calcutta (“Mother Teresa”; 1910-1997; “Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier”) was the first India woman to win a Nobel Prize (Peace, 1979). In 1931 Jane Addams (1860-1935) won the same Prize.  My grandfather worked with her at Hull House.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) became a U.S. film star with Algiers (J. Cromwell dir. 1938); she made two dozen films; typecast as a glamorous seductress, she employed that fame to sell war bonds; Howard Hughes (1905-1976) discovered her aptitude in science and used her suggestions of streamlining in aircraft design; in 1942 she and George Antheil (1900-1959) developed spread-spectrum technology, eventually used on Navy ships (1962), then in Wi-Fi® (wireless local area networking), GPS (the Global Positioning System), and Bluetooth (short-link radio), winning the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (1997) and placement in the National Inventors Hall of Fame (posth. 2014).

Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (1937-  ) was the first woman in Space.


B.C.E. = “before the Common Era”, used by many who do not care for dates according to divinity in Jesus.

“Ray Bradbury Live (forever)” Stage Portrayal to Debut 3/22

By Steve Fjeldsted: The first public performance of a new touring stage tribute to iconic author Ray Bradbury is scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. in the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room. Ray Bradbury Live (forever) is a tour de force officially authorized by the Ray Bradbury estate and features Emmy Award-winning actor Bill Oberst Jr., who’s appeared in 150 movies and TV shows, as Bradbury, with a special appearance by Stacy Rabon as Maggie Bradbury, Ray’s wife and soulmate. 

Oberst’s script for Ray Bradbury Live (forever) mixes excerpts of Bradbury works like “A Sound Of Thunder” and Something Wicked This Way Comes; selections from 50 years of Bradbury interviews and essays; large-screen video projections, and an original musical score. “It’s not biography” says the actor, “it’s a trip inside Ray’s mind; his loves; in his own words.” In addition to the Bradbury estate, Oberst’s script was vetted by Dr. Jonathan Eller, the Director of The Center For Ray Bradbury Studies and the author of two acclaimed Bradbury biographies, and by Bradbury media scholar Dr. Phil Nichols of the University Of Wolverhampton. Ray Bradbury Live (forever) is performed by permission of Ray Bradbury Literary WorksandDon Congdon Associates, Inc.

Oberst, who won awards Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles for his theatrical reading of Bradbury’sPillar Of Fire,” states ,”I’m the least likely person to portray Ray Bradbury – I didn’t know him and I don’t look like him – but I’ve been in love with him for 40 years. This wild, improbable project was born of wild, blinding love.”

The actor adds that it was after his performance of “Pillar Of Fire” before a standing ovation audience at the South Pasadena Library in 2016, he first spoke of his secret dream to do a show as Bradbury. A friend and associate of Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)  who was in attendance offered to put him in contact with the Bradbury family.

“It is wonderfully fitting,” says Oberst. “to be doing this first performance at South Pasadena Public Library, where the idea was born. It’s also apt that the show debut in the Library that has dedicated its Conference Room in Ray Bradbury’s name and one that has also presented so many other projects to honor his legacy. And besides, a multitude of Ray Bradbury appearances, film screenings, and plays have been presented in South Pasadena through the years, not only at the Library, but also at the Fremont Centre Theatre a couple of blocks away.”

Ray Bradbury was near and dear to South Pasadena and often remarked that the small town atmosphere reminded him of where he was born in Waukegan, Illinois. He also stated that the South Pasadena Library reminded him of the Waukegan Carnegie Library where he first started his lifelong self-education journey which eventually led him to become one of the most beloved and popular American authors.

The Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street in South Pasadena.   Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and no tickets or reservations are necessary. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. The show is appropriate for all ages.  For more information please refer to www.southpasadenaca.gov/library orhttps://raybradburyliveforever.com or call the Library at 626 403-7350.

The event is sponsored by the South Pasadena Public Library, the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library, the Bissell House Bed & Breakfast, and the Living History Centre Fund. Special thanks to 210eastsound, Orville Houg, Alan Jutzi, Robert Kerr, Sally Kilby, Joaquin Montalvan, Jimmy O’ Balles, John Tarpinian, Ray Tatar, David Uwins, and the Lucille and Edward R. Roybal Foundation.

Free parking is available after noon in the Mission Meridian Parking Garage located at 805 Meridian Avenueadjacent to the Metro Gold Line Station, only one block from the Library. Upon request made no later than four (4) business days before the event, the City will provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified person with a disability to have equal access to the event. Please contact ADA Coordinator and Human Resources Manager, Mariam Lee Ko, at (626) 403-7312 or fill out the City’s request form available at www.southpasadenaca.gov and email the form to Human Resources at HR@southpasadenaca.gov.

2019 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival Winners

The 2019 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival has announced the award winners for its seventh annual event. The festival was held as a bi-coastal gathering in New York and California with 11 films recognized for their distinctive filmmaking styles and quality storytelling.

“Holding the festival on both coasts contributed to a sense of connection to Philip K. Dick,” said founder and director Daniel Abella. “It was a fitting honor to hold the event in communities respected for their cultural influence.” Following two dates in Queens and Manhattan, the festival traveled to Los Angeles, the city and year of the 1982 film Blade Runner based on Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Santa Ana which served as the writer’s final residence. “These are cities that resonate well with PKD’s work,” said Abella. “Through well-attended screenings, we raised awareness of his life and created memorable experiences for all.”

Noting Philip K. Dick’s ability to connect with readers through political, technological and social themes, the festival highlighted the critical narratives of its official selections. “In a world with disinformation, surveillance and paranoia, PKD showed us that science fiction is the science of tomorrow,” said Abella.

Congratulations to the award winners of The 2019 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival:

BEST PHILIP K. DICK FEATURE
Volition (2018) — World Premiere
Director: Tony Dean Smith
Run Time/Country: 101 min, Canada
Synopsis: Blending genres, this mind-bending sci-fi thriller about a man afflicted with clairvoyance who tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder. But as he sets out to avoid his certain death, he comes to see that his pre-sentient condition is not quite what it seems. Starring Adrian Glynn McMorran (Arrow), Magda Apanowicz (The Green Inferno) and Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing).

BEST SCIENCE FICTION FEATURETTE
Destroyer of Worlds
(2018)
Director: Samual Dawes
Run Time/Country: 44 min, UK
Synopsis: A precocious teenager must reluctantly leave his life in 1954 behind when his father makes the most devastating discovery to date: Leap Theory.

BEST HORROR FEATURE
The Dark Red
(2018)
Director: Dan Bush
Run Time/Country: 101 min, USA
Synopsis: A young woman is committed to a psychiatric hospital and claims her newborn was stolen by a dark cult.

BEST PHILIP K. DICK SHORT ADAPTATION
Beyond the Door
(2018)
Director: Em Johnson
Run Time/Country: 20 min, USA
Synopsis: A mother brings home a cuckoo clock to decorate the baby’s room, unbeknownst that the cuckoo clock has the ability to love and hate just like humans. The cuckoo clock tests the couple’s love by mimicking the presence of their deceased son.

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT
I Am the Doorway
(2018)
Director: Simon Pearce
Run Time/Country: 20 min, UK
Synopsis: After a journey to investigate desolate Pluto, an astronaut returns home a shattered man. He sees eyes forcing their way through the skin of his hands, eyes that distort his friends and the landscape itself into monstrous visions. Believing himself the doorway to alien invasion and gruesome murder, he must take desperate action. Based on the short story by Stephen King.

BEST ESCHATON, SINGULARITY AND BEYOND SHORT
Mise En Abyme
(2018)
Director: Edoardo Smerilli
Run Time/Country: 11 min, Italy
Synopsis: An eccentric and aristocratic gentleman devotes most of his time to a bizarre activity. Obsessed by beauty, he wanders everyday in the wood nearby the city, hunting the most rare butterflies. Once captured, he frames them and put in a massive and disturbing collection. He will soon realize to be himself part of a bigger collection.

BEST PERSON OF COLOR SCI-FI SHORT
Sereget
(2018)
Director: Dempsey Tillman
Run Time/Country: 13 min, USA
Synopsis: An emotionally detached husband (with a child on the way) gets a rude awakening when aliens invade his home and target his family.

BEST HORROR SHORT
Post Mortem Mary
(2017)
Director: Joshua Long
Run Time/Country: 10 min, Australia
Synopsis: A girl and her mother run a post mortem photography business in 1840’s Australia.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen
(2017)
Director: David Freid
Run Time/Country: 9 min, Norway
Synopsis: Permafrost in a northern island of Norway is affecting Global Seed Vault, infectious diseases like anthrax, influenza and global warming.

BEST ANIMATION
Uncle Griot
(2018)
Director: Paul Charisse
Run Time/Country: 6 min, UK
Synopsis: A young girl takes her uncle for a walk.

BEST TRAILER
Tatu
(2018)
Director: Garcerón Alejo
Run Time/Country: 2 min, Argentina
Synopsis: Monster robots in a car junkyard battle it out.

BEST WEB SERIES
Subverse
(2018)
Director: Joseph White
Run Time/Country: 10 min, USA
Synopsis: In an alternate reality where everyone spends all their time indoors staring at computer screens, a man agrees to go on a date in the ‘outside’ world but it doesn’t go well. Filled with self-loathing, he returns home and plunges headfirst into a drunken, hallucinogenic trip through the dark net.

The 2019 Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival was held at Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106) on March 7th; Producers Club (358 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036)on March 9th; Echo Park Film Center (1200 N Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90026) on March 14th; Ebell Club (625 French St, Santa Ana, CA 92701) on March 15th and March 17th; Orange County Museum of Art (1661 W Sunflower Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704) on March 16th. The full schedule is available here.

Pixel Scroll 3/20/19 You Can Do Such A Lot With A Pixel. You Can Use Every Part Of It Too

(1) DON’T BLAB. Mary Robinette Kowal dispenses some wisdom in “Debut Author Lessons: So you’ve been nominated for an award…”

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things and so here’s the stuff that I’ve told new Nebula, Hugo, and Campbell finalists.

When they say confidential… What they mean is that they don’t want the news to get out into the wider world. There are two reasons for this.

  1. They want to get as much traction with the news as possible. If it trickles out into the world a little at a time, it’s less good for everyone, including you.
  2. People are notified at different times. Sometimes this is because of categories and sometimes it is because a nominee declines and they go to the next person on the list.

And that’s just the beginning….

(2) TRAILER TIME. Disney Pixar has put out a full trailer for Toy Story 4.

Netflix has released its trailer for the third season of Stranger Things.

(3) WHEN TO EREWHON. The Erewhon Literary Salon will feature Ilana C. Myer and Nicholas Kaufmann on April 11. The readings will take place in the offices of independent speculative fiction publisher Erewhon Books in the Flatiron/NoMad district of Manhattan. To RSVP click here.

ILANA C. MYER has worked as a journalist in Jerusalem and a cultural critic for various publications. As Ilana Teitelbaum she has written book reviews and critical essays for The Globe and Mail, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Salon, and the Huffington Post. Last Song Before Night was her first novel, followed by Fire Dance. She lives in New York.

NICHOLAS KAUFMANN is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated, Thriller Award-nominated, and Shirley Jackson Award-nominated author of six novels and two short story collections. His short fiction has appeared in Cemetery Dance, Black Static, Nightmare Magazine, Dark Discoveries, and others. In addition to his own original work, he has written for such properties as Zombies vs. Robots and The Rocketeer. He lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two ridiculous cats.

(4) REGISTER ON THE RICHTER SCALE. Their ambition isn’t to end with a bang, but with a big “Cha-ching!” “CBS Seeks Up to $1.5 Million for Ads in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Series Finale”.

The average cost for a 30-second ad in “Big Bang” for the current season hovers around $258,500, according to estimates from four media buyers. At $1.5 million, the price for a 30-second spot in the series finale would represent a 480% premium over current-season ad costs.

Yet series finales often draw bigger crowds than a normal episode. The last episode of “Seinfeld” drew 76 million viewers, for example, when NBC showed it on May 14, 1998. And the final original broadcast of “M*A*S*H” lured a whopping 105.9 million viewers when CBS ran it in 1983 – and remains one of the most-watched TV events of all time.

The cost to advertise in each of those shows was eye-popping: NBC sought between $1.4 million and $1.8 million for a 30-second spot in the “Seinfeld” ending, while CBS pressed for $450,000 to run a spot in the last broadcast of “M*A*S*H.”

(5) WHEN YOU GIVE AWAY THE STORE. Neil Clarke says the low percentage of readers who subscribe to or financially support sff magazines that make their fiction available free online (obviously) has a big impact on how staff/authors/artists are paid. Discussion thread starts here.

(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 20, 1932 Jack Cady. He won the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, an impressive feat indeed. McDowell’s Ghost gives a fresh spin on the trope of seeing seeing a War Between The States ghost, and The Night We Buried Road Dog is another ghost story set in early Sixties Montana. Underland Press printed all of his superb short fiction into two volumes, Phantoms: Collected Writings, Volume 1 and Fathoms: Collected Writings, Volume 2. (Died 2004.)
  • Born March 20, 1948 John de Lancie, 71. Best known for his role as Q in the Trek multiverse. He also was Jack O’Neill’s enemy Frank Simmons in Stargate SG-1. He has an impressive number of one-offs on genre shows including The Six Million Dollar ManBattlestar Galactica (1978 version), The New Twilight ZoneMacGyverMission: Impossible (Australian edition), Get Smart, Again!Batman: The Animated Series, Legend (if you’ve not seen it, go now and watch it) and I’m going to stop there. 
  • Born March 20, 1948 Pamela Sargent, 71. She has three exemplary series of which I think the Seed trilogy ilogy, a unique take on intergenerational colony ships. The other two series, the Venus trilogy about a women determined to terraform that world at all costs, and the Watchstar trilogy which I know nothing about. Nor have I read any of her one-off novels. 
  • Born March 20, 1950 William Hurt, 69. He made his first film appearance as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell’s Altered States, a career-making film indeed. He’s next up as Doug Tate in Alice, a Woody Allen film. Breaking his run of weird roles, he shows it’s that not bad really Lost in Space as Professor John Robinson. Dark City and the phenomenal role of Inspector Frank Bumstead follows for him. He was in A.I. Artificial Intelligence as Professor Allen Hobby and performed the character of William Marshal in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. Up next was horror film Hellgate and his role as Warren Mills, a lot more watchable than The Host, and Jebediah’s character from Winter’s Tale as adapted from the Mark Helprin novel was interesting as wax the entire film. His final, to date that is, is in Avengers: Infinity War as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Two series roles of note, the first being in the SyFy Frank Herbert’s Dune as Duke Leto I Atreides. Confession: the digitized blue eyes bugged me so much that I couldn’t watch it. The other role worth noting is him as Hrothgar in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands
  • Born March 20, 1955 Nina Kiriki Hoffman, 64. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel. In addition, her short story “Trophy Wives” won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Other novels include The Silent Strength of Stones (a sequel to Thread), A Fistful of Sky, and A Stir of Bones. All are excellent. Most of her work has a strong sense of regionalism being set In California or the Pacific Northwest. 
  • Born March 20, 1958 Holly Hunter, 61. Voiced Helen Parr / Elastigirl In The Incredibles and The Incredibles 2. Also was in  Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as Senator Finch. Her very first film role was as Sophie in The Burning, a slasher film. 
  • Born March 20, 1963 David Thewlis, 56. His best-known roles to date have been that of Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film franchise and Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares in Wonder Woman. He also voiced the Earthworm in the animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach as envision by Tim Burton. Earthworms, werewolves, and war gods — great trifecta! 
  • Born March 20, 1974 Andrzej Pilipiuk, 45. Polish writer with two genre series currently, the most long running being the one involving Jakub W?drowycz, an alcoholic exorcist. The other is his Ksi??niczka series with three women: a more than thousand-year-old apparently teenage vampire, a three hundred or so year old alchemist-szlachcianka, and her relative, a former Polish secret agent from the CB?. 
  • Born March 20, 1979 Freema Agyeman, 40. Best known for playing Martha Jones in Doctor Who, companion to the Tenth Doctor. She reprised thot role briefly in Torchwood. She voiced her character on The Infinite Quest, an animated Doctor Who serial. Currently she’s on Sense8 as Amanita Caplan. And some seventeen years ago, she was involved in a live production of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld’s Lords and Ladies held in Rollright Stone Circle Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. It was presented out of doors in the centre of two stone circles. 

(7) PEEPS STEM. Let Vox tell you “How crafters are using Peeps to explain science”.


“The Anatomy Lesson by Rembrandt Van Peep”

What don’t I love about this Peep science contest? A Museum of Natural Peepstory with a mastodon made of Peeps? No, I love it. A diorama of Peepola Tesla which was, according to its description, made by “two teens” with “no input or assistance” from any adults? No, I love it. A replica of the Apollo 11 lunar module surrounded by Peep astronauts, created by “Ben (age 7)” and the entry is captioned, “All peeps and marshmallow material were safely retired into Ben and his little sister’s stomach”? No, I love it!

…For the first annual Peep science contest, Mika McKinnon, a geophysicist and disaster researcher, submitted a cross-section of a landslide that took place in the town of Frank, Alberta, in 1903. “At 4:10 AM on April 29, 1903 on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains, 30 million cubic meters of rock slammed down Turtle Mountain,” reads the horrifying description of the deadly event that, when acted out by Peeps, looks charming and delicious. “The 17 nightshift coal miners buried beneath the slide couldn’t reopen the sealed shaft, but instead dug along a coal seam. Just three withstood the increasingly toxic air to break free into the rubble, dragging the others to safety despite their shock over the altered land.” And true, there are 17 Peeps, all heroes.

“The problem with working with disasters is that it doesn’t always fit in light-hearted ideas,” McKinnon tells me. “If you’re going to do death and doom and destruction and Peeps, you have to find a way to do it that’s respectful to the situation and to history.” She chose the Frank landslide because it happened more than 100 years ago, and because in the midst of all the death and destruction, 17 night-shift coal miners managed to pull each other out of the dirt.

(8) BEAR NECESSITIES From 2015: “You can buy 8ft tall teddy bears and no one can handle it”.

They used to do a 53? bear but 4.5 feet of soft teddy loving just wasn’t enough. Hugbear is only suitable for those aged years three and above. Presumably because it would crush a small child. It costs £199.99 and, amazingly, delivery’s included.

(9) SKATING UP THE THAMES. BBC heralds news that “Frozen musical heads from Broadway to London’s West End” but Chip Hitchcock adds, “Just in case people across the pond care — Time Out‘s reaction to the NYC production amounts to ‘meh’.”

The stage adaptation of Frozen, which opened on Broadway early last year, is coming to London’s West End.

It will reopen the Drury Lane Theatre in Autumn 2020 after the theatre’s refurbishment, producers confirmed.

The musical is based on the 2013 Disney movie of the same name – the most successful animated film ever, with box office takings of more than £1.25bn,

The storyline of the musical is broadly the same as in the movie, but extra songs have been written for the stage.

Actors currently starring in the Broadway production will stay in New York, while a new British cast will appear in the West End.

(10) THE DEAL IS SEALED. “Disney Officially Owns 21st Century Fox” – got to love this lede:

Homer Simpson probably won’t become the newest member of the Avengers, but anything’s possible now that Disney owns 21st Century Fox.

One year after Disney announced the $71.3 billion merger, it’s finally official. The deal, which closed Wednesday at 12:02 a.m. eastern time, reshapes the media landscape and makes Disney an even greater entertainment behemoth. In bolstering its trove of characters and stories, the acquisition also puts Disney in a stronger position to take on Netflix and other streaming companies, when it launches its own service, Disney+, later this year.

Disney, which already owns the Pixar, Marvel and the Star Wars brands, will now also get Deadpool and the Fox-owned Marvel characters such as the X-Men and Fantastic Four, allowing for the full Marvel family to be united. Disney also now owns former Fox television networks such as FX Networks and National Geographic Partners. Disney will also get Fox’s 30 percent ownership of Hulu, giving Disney a controlling share of 60 percent.

(11) IF ONLY. This was mentioned in comments, but here’s the NPR story: “Economic Report Of The President … And Some Superhero Friends”.

With great power, comes great responsibility.

Or the chance to pull a practical joke.

Pranksters included some whimsical credits buried in the fine print of an annual White House economic report, making it seem that Peter Parker and Aunt May had joined the staff of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Spider-Man’s alter ego and his aunt are listed among the interns who contributed to the 705-page report, which is nearly a year in the making. Other high-profile interns listed include John Cleese of Monty Python fame, Star Trek character Kathryn Janeway and the uncaped Batman, Bruce Wayne — suggesting the CEA plays no favorites between the Marvel and DC Comics universes.

(12) PEBBLES IN THE SKY. “Hayabusa-2: Asteroid mission exploring a ‘rubble pile'”. “Brother Guy talked at Boskone about about remote findings that small asteroids aren’t solid,” remembers Chip Hitchcock. “Here’s a locally-confirmed example.”

The asteroid being explored by the Japanese mission Hayabusa-2 is a “rubble pile” formed when rocks were blasted off a bigger asteroid and came back together again.

The discovery means that asteroid Ryugu has a parent body out there somewhere, and scientists already have two candidates.

They have also found a chemical signature across the asteroid that can indicate the presence of water, but this needs confirmation.

Ryugu’s unusual shape is also a sign that it must have been spinning much faster in the past.

Scientists from the Japanese Space Agency (Jaxa) mission and from Nasa’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft, which is exploring a different asteroid called Bennu, have been presenting their latest findings at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in The Woodlands, Texas.

(13) EXPLAINING THAT PANCAKE MAKEUP. “New Horizons: Ultima Thule ‘a time machine’ to early Solar System” – BBC has the story.

Scientists are getting closer to understanding how the distant object known as Ultima Thule came to be.

Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft flew by the 35km-long world on 1 January at a distance of 3,500km.

It’s made up of two distinct pieces that once orbited each other before colliding at a gentle speed, team members told a major US conference.

The scientists may also be close to understanding why it’s flattened like a pancake, rather than spherical.

(14) WROUGHTEN TO THE CORE. Readers of old SF may recall Heinlein’s rolling Stones sifting through asteroids trying to find core: “Psyche: Metal world mission targets ‘iron volcanoes'”.

Up until now, the worlds we’ve visited with robotic spacecraft have been composed largely of rock, ice and gas.

But a Nasa mission due to launch in 2022 will visit an object thought to be made largely of metal.

…A widely held idea is that 16 Psyche is the exposed core of an extinct world, perhaps as large as Mars. This proto-planet must have been pounded by other objects, removing the rocky outer layers and leaving just the iron-nickel innards prone to the vacuum of space.

So, while we can’t directly study the Earth’s core, 16 Psyche provides an opportunity to study one in outer space.

(15) OLYMPIC ROBOTS. Maybe not in the events themselves, but everywhere else: “Tokyo 2020: Robots to feature at Olympic and Paralympic Games”.

Sporting events rely on having an army of volunteers to help them run smoothly but Tokyo 2020 will be a little different – robots will be helping out.

The Tokyo 2020 Robot Project will assist wheelchair users at the Olympic Stadium with robots carrying food and drink and providing event information.

Power assisted suits will also be used at venues and athlete villages.

The suits are designed to ease human workload and will be used to move heavy objects and for waste disposal.

“This project will not simply be about exhibiting robots but showcasing their practical real-life deployment helping people,” Hirohisa Hirukawa, leader of the project said.

“So there will be not only sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games, but some cool robots at work to look forward to as well.

(16) VIRAL VIDEO. Yesterday’s news that dormant viruses reactivate during spaceflight inspired this sketch on Late Night with Stephen Colbert.

The original Star Trek cast suffers a new and very visible indignity…

[Thanks to Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Cat Eldridge. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

2019 British Academy Games Awards Nominees

The British Academy Games Awards nominees are out, and the front-runners are evident from their appearances across multiple categories:

  • 10 nominations for God of War, the action adventure game and the eighth instalment in the series.
  • Six nominations each for Red Dead Redemption 2, Return of the Obra Dinn and Florence.
  • Five nominations for Celeste, including Game Beyond Entertainment. The game’s narrative encourages players to overcome struggles, persevere and achieve their goals with compassion, and aims to bring a greater understanding of mental illness.

Voting is open for the EE Mobile Game of the Year, the only award voted for by the public. The shortlist is Brawl Stars, Clash Royale, Fortnite, Old School Runescape, Pokémon Go and Roblox. Vote now at ee.co.uk/BAFTAgames.

The Awards ceremony, hosted by Dara O’Briain, takes place on Thursday, April 4 in London and will be live streamed on all major social, online and gaming platforms: www.bafta.org/games/howtowatch.

The Awards, including the nominations, are voted for by BAFTA’s global membership, comprising experienced games industry practitioners from a range of backgrounds in game development and production.

BAFTA Game Awards 2019 nominees

Artistic Achievement

  • Detroit: Become Human
  • Gris
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Audio Achievement

  • Battlefield V
  • Detroit: Become Human
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Tetris Effect

Best Game

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
  • Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
  • Celeste
  • God of War
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

British Game

  • 11-11: Memories Retold
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • The Room: Old Sins
  • Overcooked 2
  • Two Point Hospital

Debut Game

  • Beat Saber
  • Cultist Simulator
  • Donut County
  • Florence
  • Gris
  • Yoku’s Island Express

Evolving Game

  • Destiny 2: Forsaken
  • Elite Dangerous: Beyond
  • Fortnite
  • Overwatch
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege

Family

  • Lego Disney Pixar’s The Incredibles
  • Nintendo Labo
  • Overcooked 2
  • Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! And Let’s Go, Eevee!
  • Super Mario Party
  • Yoku’s Island Express

Game Beyond Entertainment

  • 11-11: Memories Retold
  • Celeste
  • Florence
  • Life is Strange 2
  • My Child Lebensborn
  • Nintendo Labo

Game Design

  • Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
  • Celeste
  • God of War
  • Into the Breach
  • Minit
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Game Innovation

  • Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
  • Celeste
  • Cultist Simulator
  • Moss
  • Nintendo Labo
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Mobile Game

  • Alto’s Odyssey
  • Brawl Stars
  • Donut County
  • Florence
  • Reigns: Game of Thrones
  • The Room: Old Sins

Multiplayer

  • A Way Out
  • Battlefield V
  • Overcooked 2
  • Sea of Thieves
  • Super Mario Party
  • Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Music

  • Celeste
  • Far Cry 5
  • Florence
  • God of War
  • Gris
  • Tetris Effect

Narrative

  • Florence
  • Frostpunk
  • God of War
  • Marvel’s Spider-Man
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Return of the Obra Dinn

Original Property

  • Dead Cells
  • Florence
  • Into the Breach
  • Moss
  • Return of the Obra Dinn
  • Subnautica

Performer

  • Christopher Judge (Kratos in God of War)
  • Danielle Bisutti (Freya in God of War)
  • Jeremy Davies (The Stranger in God of War)
  • Melissanthi Mahut (Kassandra of Sparta in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey)
  • Roger Clark (Arthur Morgan in Red Dead Redemption 2)
  • Sunny Suljic (Atreus in God of War)

Frank Johnson (1953-2019)

By Joel Zakem: [Reprinted from FB with permission]

This is a post I hoped to never write.

In terms of longevity, Frank Johnson was my oldest friend. I believe that we first encountered each other in 1966 or 67, when we both around 13 or 14. At the time I was looking through a table of used science fiction magazines at the Ohio Bookstore in downtown Cincinnati with my friend Earl Whitson when Frank and his friend, Brad Balfour walked up. The four of us started talking and subsequently became friends. While I’ve since lost touch with Earl and rarely see Brad, Frank and I remained close.

In 1968, the four of us co-edited an atrocious sf fanzine entitled Advocates of the Infinite, which, thankfully, only lasted one issue. In the same year, we attended our first SF convention, the 1968 Midwestcon and in 1969, Frank, Brad and I joined the Cincinnati Fantasy Group (the local SF club, which put on the convention). Frank and I remained members.

In the fanzine world, Frank went on to co-edit, with Brad, the first issue of Conglomeration before going off on his own with Schamoob, which lasted more than 10 issues and where I was a regular contributor. He also provided cartoons to several other fanzines in the 1960’s and 70’s. Frank later revived Schamoob in the music APA “ALPS ,” where we were both members.

As con goers, Frank and I attended 51 straight Midwestcons (1968-2018) and, during every five Midwestcons since our 25th straight, in 1992, we have been hosting an anniversary party. Frank was also a regular attendee of Worldcons and several regionals such as Confusion and Windycon, but he rarely participated in panels or presentations. His 50+ years in fandom probably made him one of the longest tenured African-American SF fans.

Besides fandom, Frank and I shared several other interests, most notably music. While our taste occasionally clashed (we both enjoyed jazz and folk, but Frank tended toward the progressive area of rock while I was more into punk and new wave), I spent many an enjoyable hour in record and CD stores with Frank (and our differences in taste meant that we often would locate items the other wanted). Frank made regular trips to Europe, and he loved browsing the record stores there.

While music was more of a hobby for me, it became a career for Frank, as he has had a long tenure in radio as an announcer and programmer, in genres including album-oriented rock and smooth (or as we sometime called it snooze) jazz. In recent years, he hosted a drive-time classical music show on Cincinnati’s WGUC-FM, a job he truly seemed to enjoy.

Last year, however, Frank was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Like many things in his life, he tended to keep his condition secret from all but his closest friends. Various treatments proved unsuccessful, and the 2018 Windycon (which I regret skipping) became his last con (I offered to drive him to the 2019 Confusion, but he determined that it would have been too much of a strain). 

Though we have lived in different cities for the past 30 or so years, we have remained friends (and Cincinnati and Louisville, our current cities, are only two hours apart). In fact, in early January of this year, I ended up driving him to one of his treatments. At that time, he was noticeably thinner and weaker, but still seemed alert. After the treatment, we returned to the house he shared with Karen, his long-time significant other, where he insisted on playing me certain musical selections on his surround sound system. 

Unfortunately, in the past week, his condition radically worsened, and he ended up confined to bed. I had planned to drive up to see him today (March 20) but, around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19, I received a call from Karen saying that I should probably drive up on that day. I quickly showered, threw some things into the car, and hit the road to Cincinnati.

I arrived at Karen and Frank’s at about 11:30 a.m. and was shocked at the deterioration since the last time I had seen Frank. He probably weighed less than 100 pounds, could not talk, and was completely listless. While I would like to think that he knew that I was there, I cannot be sure. I was still there, with several of Frank’s other friends, in mid-afternoon, when Frank took his last breath. He was 65 years old.

Something kind of wonderful did happen right before Frank passed. A few months back, Frank, accompanied by Karen, made a last visit to the radio station where Frank worked. A long-time Hitchhikers fan, Frank asked, somewhat jokingly, that if he did not make it, could the phrase “So Long and Thanks For All The Fish” be used in any on-air tribute to him. (And WGUC just broadcast a moving tribute to Frank which ended with a recording of Frank saying those exact words.)

A package for Frank had arrived from the radio station earlier in the afternoon of the 19th. When Karen opened it, she discovered a glass fishbowl containing a number of paper fishes, each one with a message from one of Frank’s coworkers on the back. Karen, with a little help from me in deciphering some of the handwriting, read each message to Frank. The last one, read shortly before Frank died, read “The Answer is 42.”

I know that I will never forget Frank, and I also know I will never forget the opportunity to share Frank’s last hours with some amazing people, especially Karen who did so much for and with him. Safe journeys, old friend.

Karen Kelley and Frank Johnson in 2006. Photo by Joel Zakem.

Cincinnati Public Radio News’ post “WGUC Announcer Frank Johnson Loses Battle With Cancer” begins:

WGUC classical music host Frank Johnson lost his battle with cancer Tuesday, March 19. He was 65.

The Cincinnati native, who started his career in 1975 at Dayton’s WTUE-FM, joined WGUC-FM in 1998 on the All Things Considered news shift.

He had hosted afternoon and evening music shifts, most recently 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. He had been off the air since December.

Cincinnati Public Radio will pay tribute to Johnson today by playing some of his classical music favorites during his air shift. He loved Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

“The staff and listeners of WGUC and WVXU, as well as the Greater Cincinnati radio and music community – and science fiction fans everywhere – have lost a dear friend,” Cincinnati Public Radio said in an announcement today. “Frank was a true radio professional and aficionado of all types of music, especially jazz, his soul music.” 

And the Cincinnati Public Radio website is hosting a Remembering Frank Johnson page. Here’s the comment left by Denise Johnson —  

Denise Johnson (Frank’s sister)

Although WTUE was his first job after college, Frank’s radio career began while he was still in high school. Junior Achievement had a public affairs program that broadcast from the studios of WCIN. Once bitten he was hooked on mass communications.

An elder neighbor introduced him to shortwave (ham) radio. In order to get a stronger signal, Frank climbed up a telephone pole outside of his bedroom window to connect a tie a wire to the telephone cables.

Frank was an avid comic book consumer and collector. On one occasion, his little sister’s pet gerbil escaped from its cage and nibbled on a prized possession. To impress the importance and value of his collection, he dangled the offending rodent over the toilet as he repeatedly flushed while his sister cried and begged for mercy and his mother stood watch with an arched eyebrow. The gerbil wasn’t flushed and his sister made sure to avoid additional trauma by relocating the pet to an aquarium.

Frank continued to hone his skills as the student newspaper editor at Courter Technical High School and was on the yearbook and “managed” the school’s radio station.

His obsession with science fiction led to a book collection that earned him an award in a contest sponsored by the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

His literary pursuits and graphic art skills led his to publish fanzines; the first, Conglomeration – a collaborative effort with other teen sci-fi fans and a solo effort titled Schmoob, published on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine from typewritered stencils. He managed to snag contributions from top-shelf authors like Ray Bradbury — all while still in high school.

While earning his Bachelor’s degree in Speech and Mass Communications at Bowling Green State University, he was the manager of the campus radio station and earned pocket change dj-ing campus dances and parties.

The sum of his combined experiences created a first-call radio announcer, programmer and production manager. Enunciation and a smooth delivery led to a side hustle of voice-over work. He worked in his chosen profession for nearly 50 years.

2019 Darrell Awards

The winners of the Darrell Awards for 2019 were announced at Midsouthcon in Memphis on March 16.

The annual Darrell Awards support Midsouth Literacy by recognizing the best published Science Fiction, Fantasy and/or Horror in Short Story, Novella, Novel, Young Adult & Other Media formats. This year’s winners are:

Best Midsouth Novel

  • Frank Tuttle — Every Wind of Change

First runner-up:

  • John E. Siers  — In the Service of Luna

Best Midsouth Novella

  • Kevin Andrew Murphy – Find the Lady (appearing in Mississippi Roll, a Wild Cards shared-world novel)

First runner-up

  • William Alan Webb – The Hairy Man (set in his post-apocalypse series)

Best Midsouth Short Story 

  • Frank Tuttle — “Knob Hill Haunt” (a free-standing Mama Hogg story in the Markhat universe)

First runner-up:

  • Lee Ann Story — “Family Circle” (appearing in End of the World Potluck)

Second runner-up

  • Sheree Renee Thomas — “Teddy Bump” (appearing in Fiyah Lit Mag, issue 7)

Best Midsouth Other Media 

  • Mark Powers — Dog Men (the first 6 issues in this comic book series set in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files universe)

First runner-up

  • Matthew Maala — Amazing Grace (Season 3, Episode 14, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow tv series)

The Darrell Awards are named in honor of the memory of Dr. Darrell C. Richardson, who was instrumental in getting the Memphis SF Association off the ground.

The related Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame Award is given to an author who has made exceptional contributions to Midsouth Literacy by having published a substantial body of work that is or would have been eligible for the Darrell Award. The winner was announced in January.

Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame Award

  • Troy L. Wiggins

chosen for his outstanding contributions to Midsouth literacy, both as a writer of SF/F/H short stories and for his role in founding Fiyah Lit Mag, a relatively-new SF/F/H magazine (now in its third year).

[Via Locus Online.]

Pixel Scroll 3/19/19 The Society For Putting Broken Pixel Scrolls In Ponds

(1) A FAMILY AT WAR. Kameron Hurley backgrounds her new novel The Light Brigade in “The Big Idea” at Whatever.

…I have stories like these and so many others to share. I’ve used first-person accounts from soldiers – my friends, my family, and those I’ve collected through my research –to create the intimate, beautiful and horrifying world of The Light Brigade. In truth this book is less about predicting the future because so many aspects of this future are already here. Instead, it challenges us to rethink our present, and everything that comes after it.

(2) FROM CGI TO OMG. Camestros Felapton has finished watching the rest of the episodes and provides “Love, Death + Robots: A viewing guide” for prospective viewers.

I can’t recommend this series as a whole, there are just too many episodes that manage to be dull, ugly and offensive in one go. However, there are some gems and there are some episodes that are diverting if not great. Also, everybody’s taste in this stuff is very variable, so while I expect nobody is going to universally love every episode, the particular bad v good will be different per person.

The following is a list of my impressions and some aspects that you might want to know in advance if you want to just watch some episodes rather than the whole bunch….

(3) MARCH OF TIME. Through the catacombs and sewers — “A Three-Day Expedition To Walk Across Paris Entirely Underground”. Fascinating article.

The first person to photograph the underground of Paris was a gallant and theatrical man with a blaze of red hair, known as Nadar. Once described by Charles Baudelaire as “the most amazing example of vitality,” Nadar was among the most visible and electric personalities in mid-nineteenth-century Paris. He was a showman, a dandy, a ringleader of the bohemian art world, but he was known especially as the city’s preeminent photographer. Working out of a palatial studio in the center of the city, Nadar was a pioneer of the medium, as well as a great innovator. In 1861, Nadar invented a battery-operated light, one of the first artificial lights in the history of photography. To show off the power of his “magic lantern,” as he called it, he set out to take photographs in the darkest and most obscure spaces he could find: the sewers and catacombs beneath the city….

A century and a half after Nadar, I arrived in Paris, along with Steve Duncan and a small crew of urban explorers, with an aim to investigate the city’s relationship to its underground in a way no one had before. We planned a traverse — a walk from one edge of the city to the other, traveling exclusively by subterranean infrastructure. It was a trip Steve had dreamed up back in New York: we’d spent months planning, studying old maps of the city, consulting Parisian explorers, and tracing potential routes. The expedition, in theory, was tidy. We would descend into the catacombs just outside the southern frontier of the city, near Porte d’Orléans; if all went according to plan, we’d emerge from the sewers near Place de Clichy, beyond the northern border. As the crow flies, the route was about six miles, a stroll you could make between breakfast and lunch. But the subterranean route — as the worm inches, let’s say — would be winding and messy and roundabout, with lots of zigzagging and backtracking. We had prepared for a two- or three-day trek, with nights camping underground….

(4) MUSIC TO THEIR EARS. The Hollywood Reporter hears the cash register ringing: “Box Office: Charting ‘Captain Marvel’s’ Meteoric Rise Among Superhero Pics”.

The Marvel Studios and Disney tentpole finished Sunday — its 12th day in release — with $760.2 million in global ticket sales, besting the entire lifetime runs of numerous comic book adaptations, including Man of Steel, as well as passing up Wonder Woman overseas.

And its already become one of the most successful female-fronted properties in history at the worldwide box office, eclipsing all of the Twilight films and three of the four installments in The Hunger Games series.

(5) KEEP THOSE CONSPIRACY THEORIES COMING. The Wrap is only asking a question, y’know? “Is Danai Gurira on the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Poster Because Okoye Is the New Black Panther?”

Her inclusion on the poster is particularly interesting because she is the only character on it who hasn’t been seen at some point in one of the two trailers or the Super Bowl commercial. So why in the world would she be on the poster if she isn’t a key character in the film? The answer, we can’t help but think, is that she actually is a key character….

(6) DIGITIZING TOLKIEN FANZINES. Gary Hunnewell’s collection of Tolkein fanzines, now housed at Marquette University, is being scanned and transcribed. In January, William Fliss explained the legal policy guiding the digital publication of these fanzines: “The FellowsHub Journey Continues: An Adventure in Copyright”.

Navigating copyright for such a large and diverse print collection as the Tolkien fanzines is an adventure. The Hunnewell Collection at Marquette includes over 250 fanzine titles from 27 countries, ranging in time from the late 1950s to the turn of the century. The FellowsHub team consulted Marquette’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in developing a copyright strategy. Copyright law will prevent FellowsHub from publishing every fanzine in the collection. Deciding if FellowsHub can digitally publish a specific fanzine depends upon the publication’s age, country of origin, and the presence of a copyright notice somewhere on the document. To simplify matters, the team decided to begin by focusing only on fanzines published in the United States. Careful analysis with OGC of the complicated rules governing U.S. copyright led to the following plan of action:

· FellowsHub will proceed with publishing any fanzines from 1959–1989 that lack a copyright notice.

· Fanzines from 1959–1963 that bear a copyright notice will be researched to determine if the copyright was ever renewed. FellowsHub will publish any fanzines where copyright was never renewed. For those fanzines where copyright was renewed, the team will attempt to contact the copyright holders and seek permission to publish.

· For fanzines from 1964–1989 that bear a copyright notice, the team will attempt to contact the copyright holders and seek permission to publish.

· For any fanzines published after 1989, the team will attempt to contact the copyright holders and seek permission to publish.

Got all that? If not, the accompanying flow chart helps the FellowsHub team determine how it will handle a specific fanzine issue….

Zach B. tells about doing the handwork for the project in “Digitizing Fanzines on J.R.R. Tolkien”.

The last semester, I’ve worked side by side with the library staff to not only help to understand these fan-made products, but to preserve such so that they are not lost to the tides of time. Using Adobe Acrobat, their PDF reader and scanner, I have the ability to convert a whole page of one of these fanzines using the “Recognize Text” function and export it into a text file, allowing the page to be looked into further with clarity. Seeing as how these pages are 30–40 years old or older, many of them are either faded or handwritten, meaning Acrobat is unable to OCR everything, but since it automatically opens whatever it scans into a word document, I’m able to change any errors in translation and scanning.

(7) POINTY THINGS. Speaking of helpful flowcharts – Camestros Felapton is the first to explain Britain’s political crisis in terms I can follow: “Today’s Infographic: Brexit – next steps”.

With only days to go before the UK topples out of the EU onto the hard pavement outside the pub and wallows in its own vomit drunk on the heady liquor of confused nationalism, here is a helpful flowchart to show how the next events may progress….

(8) THE MOTION IS TABLED. The Guardian says it exists, however, it doesn’t sound like we’ll be reading it anytime soon: “Francis Spufford pens unauthorised Narnia novel”

“It’s not exactly my Narnia,” he said, “though there are bits of me in it. It’s my best guess as [to] what a conjectural CS Lewis might have written, if he had written another Narnia novel.”

The Stone Table follows Polly Plummer and Digory Kirke, who watch Aslan sing Narnia into being in The Magician’s Nephew, as they return to Narnia. Spufford said he was cautious in giving clues as to what happens in the adventure, but the novel “explains why there are four empty thrones in the castle of Cair Paravel, and where the Stone Table came from”.

Spufford said he was acutely conscious of his responsibilities towards Lewis’s creation.

“If you’re going to play with someone else’s toys, then you need to be very clear that they are someone else’s toys. You need to be clear that you’re not profiting by it, that it’s a homage that doesn’t tread on the toes of the real books.”

(9) MORE ON ELLEN VARTANOFF. Scott Edelman says the memorial is scheduled:

(10) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 19, 1999 Farscape premiered on Syfy

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 19, 1926 Joe L. Hensley. Long-time fan and writer who was a First Fandom “Dinosaur” (which meant he had been active in fandom prior to July 4, 1939), and received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award in 2006. Very impressive! His first genre fiction sale was the short story “And Not Quite Human,” published in the September 1953 issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction. His co-authors included Alexei Panshin and Harlan Ellison. Though he wrote nearly fifty pieces of short fiction, and much of that is not genre, he wrote just one genre novel, The Black Roads. (Died 2007.)
  • Born March 19, 1928 Patrick  McGoohan. Creator along with George Markstein of The Prisoner series in which he played the main role of Number Six. I’ve watched it at least several times down the years. It never gets any clearer but it’s always interesting and always weird.  Other genre credits do not include Danger Man but comprise a short list of The Phantom where he played The Phantom’s father, Treasure Planet where he voiced Billy Bones and Journey into Darkness where he was The Host of. (Died 2009.)
  • Born March 19, 1936 Ursula Andress, 83. I’msure I’ve seen all of the original Bond films though I’ll be damned I remember where or when I saw them. Which is my way of leading up to saying thot I don’t remember her in her roles as either as Honey Ryder in the very first Bond film, Dr. No, or as as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. Bond girls aren’t that memorable to me it seems. Hmmm… let’s see if she’s done any other genre work… well her first was The Tenth Victim based on Sheckley’s 1953 short story “Seventh Victim”. She also appeared in L’Infermiera, oops wrong genre, The Mountain of the Cannibal GodThe Fifth MusketeerClash of the Titans where she played of course Aphrodite, on the Manimal series, The Love Boat series and the two Fantaghirò films. 
  • Born March 19, 1945 Jim Turner. Turner was editor for Arkham House after the death of August Derleth, founder of that press. After leaving Arkham House for reasons that are not clear, he founded Golden Gryphon Press. (Died 1999.)
  • Born March 19, 1947 Glenn Close, 72. I had not a clue that she’d done genre-friendly acting. Indeed she has, with two of the most recent being Nova Prime in Guardians of The Galaxy, Topsy in Mary Poppins Returns and voicing Felicity Fox in the animated film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. Before those roles, she was Aunt Josephine in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Blue Mecha in A.I. Artificial Intelligence and Madeline Ashton in Death Becomes Her
  • Born March 19, 1955 Bruce Willis, 64. So do any of the Die Hard franchise count as genre? Even setting them aside, he has a very long  genre list, to wit Death Becomes Her (bit of macabre fun), 12 Monkeys (weird shit), The Fifth Element (damn great), Armageddon, (eight tentacles down), The Sixth Sense (not at all bad), Sin City morning (typical Miller overkill) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (yet more Miller overkill). 
  • Born March 19, 1963 Neil LaBute, 56. He’s the writer/director of the Wicker Man remake and the creator of just renewed for a fourth season on Syfy Van Helsing series. He’s one of the Executive Producers of The I-Land series starting soon on Netflix.
  • Born March 19, 1964 Marjorie Monaghan, 55. JoJo on all six episodes of Space Rangers. My brain keeps insisting it lasted longer. She also was on Babylon 5 as the Mars Resistance leader during the Earth Alliance Civil War, where she was known as Number One. She’s also appeared on Quantum Leap, in the cyberpunk Nemesis film, in The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy film, on Andromeda series and on The Great War of Magellan film. 
  • Born March 19, 1976 Nicholas Stoller, 43. He is known for co-writing (with Jason Segel) The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted (with James Bobin). 

(12) RIVETING ADVENTURE. “HBO challenges Game of Thrones fans to find 6 iron thrones hidden across the globe”, SYFY Wire reports on the contest but doesn’t seem to know what you get when you find one.

For the Throne! As the epic series Game of Thrones nears its conclusion, HBO is offering fans the chance to play. And the good news is, you don’t die if you don’t win. 

As part of its #ForTheThrone campaign, HBO has launched a treasure hunt whereby fans seek out six iron thrones that have been hidden across the globe, and its up to astute and observant fans to figure out where they were based on carefully-hidden clues. HBO posted a picture of an Iron Throne replica on its Instagram page along with a message suggesting fans “Seek the Weirwood in this Kingdom on Earth.” 

(13) INNER SPACE. A Phys.org article reveals “Dormant viruses activate during spaceflight”.

Herpes viruses reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station missions, according to NASA research published in Frontiers in Microbiology. While only a small proportion develop symptoms, virus reactivation rates increase with spaceflight duration and could present a significant health risk on missions to Mars and beyond.

NASA’s rapid viral detection systems and ongoing treatment research are beginning to safeguard astronauts—and immunocompromised patients on Earth, too.

“NASA astronauts endure weeks or even months exposed to microgravity and cosmic radiation—not to mention the extreme G forces of take-off and re-entry,” says senior author Dr. Satish K. Mehta of KBR Wyle at the Johnson Space Center. “This physical challenge is compounded by more familiar stressors like social separation, confinement and an altered sleep-wake cycle.”

(14) DONTINVITEMS. Australia told Milo Yiannopolous to stay home after provocative comments on Facebook: “Milo Yiannopoulos banned from entering Australia for tour after massacre comments”.

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos will no longer be allowed to travel to Australia for a tour later this year following comments he made on the mass shooting in New Zealand. Australia’s minister for immigration, citizenship and multicultural affairs has banned him from entering the country for the tour. 

“Yiannopoulos’ comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division,” David Coleman said in a statement Saturday. 

“The terrorist attack in Christchurch was carried out on Muslims peacefully practicing their religion,” Coleman said. “It was an act of pure evil. Australia stands with New Zealand and with Muslim communities the world over in condemning this inhuman act.”

Coleman didn’t specifically state which of Yiannopoulos’ comments he was referring to. But the former Breitbart journalist posted on Facebook Friday that attacks like the one in Christchurch happen “because the establishment panders to and mollycoddles extremist leftism and barbaric alien religious cultures.” 

Yiannopoulos defended his comments. “I explicitly denounced violence,” he later said in another post. “And I criticized the establishment for pandering to Islamic fundamentalism. So Australia banned me again.” 

(15) SERIES GETS HIGH MARX. Martin Morse Wooster, our Designated Financial Times Reader, reports from behind the paywall –

In the March 15 Financial Times, Tom Hancock discusses “The Leader,” an animated series about Karl Marx currently airing in China.

“For the past month, a cartoon spectre has been haunting me.  With brown flowing hair, impossibly large eyes and a heroic V-shaped chin, the hero of “The Leader” would fit into any animated series.  But rather than romance or adventure, this hero pursues another goal: the liberation of the proletariat. The hero’s name:  Karl Marx.

The series (episodes, which have been viewed 5M times online) is part of a state-backed initiative to promote Marx to young people in China…

…”The Leader,” however, does put the class struggle front and centre, portraying the young Marx clashing with government censors over newspaper articles about labour rights, praising a workers’ uprising in Silesia, and calling for the abolition of private property. The ironies have not been lost on viewers, who can write comments to scroll over the cartoon as it plays. When Marx’s university threatens him over his activism in one episode, a user comment scrolls by — ‘Peking University Marxism Society’–referring to the group at the centre of the recent real-life crackdown.”

(16) GOODER VIBRATIONS. “Massive U.S. Machines That Hunt For Ripples In Space-Time Just Got An Upgrade”NPR has the story.

Scientists are about to restart the two giant facilities in the United States that register gravitational waves, the ripples in the very fabric of the universe that were predicted by Albert Einstein more than a century ago.

Einstein realized that when massive objects such as black holes collide, the impact sends shock waves through space-time that are like the ripples in water created by tossing a pebble in a pond.

In 2015, researchers made history by detecting gravitational waves from colliding black holes for the first time — and this was such a milestone that three U.S. physicists almost immediately won the Nobel Prize for their work on the project.

Since then, physicists have detected gravitational waves from other exotic smashups. The grand total is 10 pairs of black holes colliding and a pair of neutron stars crashing together.

Now they’re getting ready to discover more of these cosmic events. On April 1, the twin facilities in Louisiana and Washington state that make up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory will start doing science again after being shut down for more than a year so that workers could install hardware upgrades.

(17) KEYBOARD WARRIOR. This one really is — “Hated and hunted: The perilous life of the computer virus cracker making powerful enemies online”.

Fabian is world renowned for destroying ransomware – the viruses sent out by criminal gangs to extort money.

Because of this, he lives a reclusive existence, always having to be one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

He has moved to an unknown location since this interview was carried out.

…All of the victims mentioned above were hit with some form of ransomware. But the Hong Kong businessman didn’t lose his job and the photographer and head teacher were able to recover their work.

None had to pay any money, and once they’d got their lives back in order, all sent emails of thanks to the same person.

He’s a man who has devoted himself, at huge personal cost, to helping victims of ransomware around the world. A man who guards his privacy dearly to protect himself, because for every message of gratitude he receives, almost as many messages of abuse come at him from the cyber criminals who hate him.

In fact, they hate him so much that they leave him angry threats buried deep inside the code of their own viruses.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Scott Edelman, Mlex, Chip Hitchcock, StephenfromOttawa, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, JJ, Brian Z., and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day, that fan of papier mache ULTRAGOTHA.]

Wandering Through the Public Domain #9

A regular exploration of public domain genre works available through Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and Librivox.

By Colleen McMahon: I’ve had some upheaval in my personal life in the last month, and I haven’t been keeping up with this column or with some of the older comments. So I’ll start by taking an opportunity to clarify a couple of things which may have been misunderstood, based on some of the comments on older entries.

First, when I mention a work here, it’s generally because it’s either one that I have come across in my own “wanderings”, or because it has some tie to something recently discussed, such as when an author’s birthday comes up in the daily listing, and it turns out that they have some public domain books or stories available.

It’s not meant to imply that a book is just now entering the public domain (unless otherwise stated, as in the recent discussion of the 1923 copyright expirations) or that it is in any way a new discovery to anyone but me. So, for example, Flatland by Abbott has indeed been in the public domain for many years, and only came up here because a new audiobook recording of it was recently released.

Second, someone apparently took offense at my passing observation that John W. Campbell is better known nowadays for his role as an editor as a writer. That is no judgement on Campbell as a writer, or any of the other forgotten or less-remembered names that come up. It’s just a general impression of the overall collective memory or focus of 2019 fandom and who tends to be well-known and who does not. If I’m off base on my estimation of how well-known any particular writer is at this point, I welcome correction.

Most stories and novels pass out of popular notice in a few decades, no matter how worthwhile they are. There’s no point in hand-wringing about this or decrying the crappiness of modern fandom for not being sufficiently aware of certain writers. I prefer to look at it as a vast realm of potential buried treasures, and poke about looking for some forgotten books that are worth unearthing. I started writing this series merely to share some of these finds.

On that note, let’s turn to some of the recent diggings:

In Cat Rambo’s introduction to this month’s StoryBundle featuring contemporary female speculative fiction authors, she mentions four names as examples of women authors who have largely faded away. This, as usual, sent me off to see if anything by those authors is available on my favorite sites.

Miriam DeFord was already covered in a previous installment. I could not find any public domain works by Zenna Henderson, alas. However, the other two authors that Rambo mentioned, Judith Merril and Katherine MacLean, are each represented by several short stories on Project Gutenberg.

Judith Merril (1923-1997):

To date, neither story has been recorded for Librivox.

Katherine MacLean (1925- )

All of these stories have been recorded at least once for Librivox.

Speaking of women authors, Andre Norton (1912-2005) had a February birthday. She has short stories as well as several full-length novels available on Project Gutenberg:

In addition to her science fiction, Norton has a YA adventure novel (Ralestone Luck) and two Westerns (Ride Proud, Rebel! and Rebel Spurs) on PG. All of her works have been recorded, most in multiple versions, for Librivox.

Staying on the topic of women authors, Leigh Brackett’s (1915-1978) name is probably most recognizable as one of the credited screenwriters of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. She was well-known enough as a screenwriter in the 1940s that Howard Hawks is said to have once demanded, “Get me that guy, Brackett” to help William Faulkner finish the script for The Big Sleep. Brackett is also notable as the first woman author to receive a Hugo nomination, for her 1956 post-nuclear-war novel The Long Tomorrow.

The Long Tomorrow does not appear to be in the public domain, but two stories by Brackett are available on Project Gutenberg:

Both stories have been recorded for Librivox.

Recent Librivox releases:

  • The Mermaid’s Message and Other Stories by Various

    This is a collection of fairy tales and fables compiled in 1919. The stories contain original but old-fashioned tales which modern children and grown-ups will enjoy.
  • Master of Life and Death by Robert Silverberg (1935- )

    When Roy Walton becomes the new director of the UN division of population control, after the director is assassinated, he becomes the most hated man in the world. Being Director involved him in not only population control, but a terra-forming project on Venus, and negotiations with aliens. Not only that, but some people were trying to kill him. To stay alive, he had to become The Master of Life and Death.

2019 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award

What the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award looks like.

Matt McHugh of New Jersey has won the grand prize in the 2019 Jim Baen Memorial Award competition for his short story “Burners.” The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Contest has been held annually since 2007 and is focused on stories of space exploration and discovery, with an optimistic spin on those activities for the human race.

GRAND PRIZE

  • “Burners” by Mat McHugh of New Jersey

FIRST RUNNER-UP

  • “Acid Test” by Gustavo Bondoni of Buenos Aires, Argentina

SECOND RUNNER-UP

  • “Dangerous Orbit” by M. T. Reiten of Los Alamos, NM

Judges for the award were the editors of Baen Books. Stories were judged anonymously.

The Jim Baen Memorial Award will be presented June 8, 2019 in a ceremony at the annual International Space Development Conference held this year in Arlington, VA. The winner receives a distinctive award and professional publication of the story in June 2019 at the Baen.com web site.

“The National Space Society and Baen Books applaud the role that science fiction plays in advancing real science and have teamed up to sponsor this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen, the founder of Baen Books,” said William Ledbetter, contest administrator. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the winner to meets scientists and space advocates from around the world.”

The contest occurs annually and looks for stories that demonstrate the positive aspects of space exploration and discovery.