Crime fiction awards season is in full swing. Even
J.K. Rowling’s pseudonymous work took one home. So did James Sallis, once a New Wave sff author with two stories in Again,
Dangerous Visions, who long ago moved on from writing sff.
CRIMEFEST. The winners of seven separate
prizes were announced at CrimeFest in Bristol, UK held May 7-10.
Audible Sounds of Crime Award (for the best
unabridged crime audiobook)
Lethal White, by “Robert Galbraith,” aka J.K. Rowling; read
by Robert Glenister (Hachette Audio)
eDunnit Award (“for the best crime fiction e-book
first published in both hardcopy and in electronic format”)
Sunburn, by Laura Lippman (Faber and Faber)
Last Laugh Award (for the best humorous crime novel)
A Shot in the Dark, by Lynne Truss (Bloomsbury)
H.R.F. Keating Award (for the best biographical or
critical book related to crime fiction)
Lives–Hitching Rides, by James Sallis (No Exit Press)
Best Crime Novel for Children (aged 8-12)
Investigates, by Lauren St. John (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Best Crime Novel for Young Adults (aged 12-16)
Run, Riot, by Nikesh Shukla (Hodder Children’s Books)
Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of
The Katharina Code, by Jørn Lier Horst, translated by Anne Bruce
(Michael Joseph; Norway)
LINDISFARNE. The winner of the inaugural Lindisfarne Prize for Debut Crime
Fiction has been announced
…Fandom roots were growing independently. Influential fans of these times included Fred Patten, who helped import anime to America, founding a fandom for it, mingling it with science fiction fans and their conventions. Anime was a breath of fresh air with robots, monsters, science fiction and serious adult stories. Patten was also a bridge for funny animal artists with self-published APA’s and zines. In the early 80’s, Steve Gallaci put furries in military science fiction illustration that energized these artists.
At conventions, there was a certain social split among artists and fans. Serious-minded artists wanted to launch respectable careers, while orbiting ones hoped to ride along. But others looked to themselves as sources for fandom for its own sake — and respectability to outsiders wasn’t the main point. While other fandoms took different paths, this one branched off towards a subculture.
At 1980’s sci-fi conventions like Baycon in the San Francisco Bay area, the split was felt with separate room parties (separated by elitism or even cliquish mocking at “skunkfvckers”). It eventually spun off into the first furry con, ConFurence 0 in 1989, a test put together by fans in Southern California. (Mark Merlino, cofounder of Confurence, told me about the fan split in a long email exchange in 2017.) Others spun off from Chicago (Duckon), Philadelphia (Philcon) and elsewhere when furry fans wanted cons of their own….
…Tomorrow, Part 2 will look more at how fandom grows with free expression, its own cottage industry and independent media, while making a certain fandom identity. Then Part 3 will look at how fandom can work like counterculture (or even punk) and how commercialism creeps in and complicates it.
(2) X-MEN: THE SEMINAL
MOMENTS. The late Len Wein gets a lot of love in the video that launches
this series – “The History of the
X-Men Part 1.”
Starting today through the end of May, Marvel will release the four-episode series online to celebrate the X-Men series that changed the Marvel Universe forever: Giant-Size X-Men, 1991’s X-Men #1, Age of Apocalypse, and New X-Men. Sponsored by this summer’s blockbuster HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X series, these new retrospectives will take both longtime and new X-Men fans back to some of the greatest moments in the Marvel Universe, setting the scene for the most important story in the history of mutantkind.
Each of these shorts will feature voices from Marvel’s past and present – including legendary creators like Adam Kubert, Chris Claremont, Larry Hama, Jonathan Hickman, Al Ewing and more – as they look back and share their thoughts (and inside looks) into the most influential moments that redefined and reignited the X-Men, leading to bold new directions that drew in generations of fans around the world.
X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Series Release Schedule: 5/20 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 1: Giant-Size X-Men (1975); 5/22 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: X-Men #1 (1991); 5/24 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: Age of Apocalypse (1995); 5/28 – X-MEN: THE SEMINAL MOMENTS Episode 2: New X-Men (2001)
(3) A MARTIAN ODYSSEY. Ingvar
(of Trigger Snowflake fame) livetweeted his tour of the Sweden Solar System, starting near the
Sun and ending right by Mars, “Using just feet and public transport, it takes
about three hours to go from the Sun to Mars.” The thread starts here.
Salvage will tell the story of two couples fighting to survive on a houseboat as it moves down river in a post-apocalyptic America: Everyone is out for their own survival, nothing is as it was and brutality is the new normal. Each of the characters discover sides of themselves they never knew existed, some valiant and some violent.
The film also boasts an original score composed by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains.
Right-o grimdark horde! I need your input to decide upon a shortlist for a new cover artist to replace our outgoing legend Jason Deem.
When I put out the word for a new artist we got a very tall pile of entries–fifty or sixty or so. I had to cut most of them either for their art not being aligned with what I want on our covers, or their rates being a bit too far out of budget, and got the list down to four. I’d love to get your opinion on them.
This week, Devil’s Due published the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez & The Freedom Force: New Party, Who Dis? comic book. A number of comic book retailers ran exclusive retailer covers, including this one for NY Collector Cave by Carla Cohen which Bleeding Cool posted a couple of weeks ago. In which AOC bears a stunning resemblance to Wonder Woman. Too stunning it seems for DC Comics whose legal team, after reading the article on Bleeding Cool (Warner Bros IP traffic spiked in the days after we posted that article), sent a cease-and-desist notice to DEvil’s Due and the NY Collector Cave demanded that the comic in question not be distributed, but recalled and returned or destroyed.
(9) PUSHING THE NARRATIVE. Is
Grumpy Cat dead, or already reincarnated as Craig Martelle? Camestros Felapton
has a few quotes from the 20BooksTo50K leader that raise the possibility: “Wrapping
up the LMBPN Kerfuffle and the Nebulas”. Martelle told his FB group —
…Six indies nominated for Nebula awards last night and zero indie winners. What matters most is which stories resonate best with the readers and which ones will lead to new stories bringing more readers on board. Who is going to be the most professional of the authors? Out of our six finalists? Only one is not a full-time author and that is by choice.
I am not talking down about any winners or any other authors – being a full-time writer comes with great risk….
Camestros follows up with some earthy opinions of his own.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 20, 1911 — Gardner Francis Fox. Writer for DC comics who created The Flash, Adam Strange and The Atom, plus the Justice Society of America. His first SF novel was Escape Across the Cosmos though he wrote a tie-ie novel, Jules Verne’s Five Weeks in a Balloon, previously. (Died 1986.)
Born May 20, 1928 — Shirley Rousseau Murphy, 91. Author of the Joe Grey series of mysteries. It’s a cat who solves mysteries. Surely that’s genre. Excellent series. She also did some genre, none of which I’ve encountered, the Children of Ynell series and the Dragonbard trilogy.
Born May 20, 1946 — Cher, 73. In The Witches of Eastwick which is her main genre credit. She did appear as Romana on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in “The Hot Number Affair” and she voiced herself in the “The Secret of Shark Island” of The New Scooby-Doo Movies which despite the name was actually a series, but that’s it.
Born May 20, 1960 — John Billingsley, 59. Phlox on Enterprise, a series I really liked despite the fact it seems to have many detractors. His first genre role was in A Man from Earth as Mr. Rothman, a film in which the scriptwriter riffed off the immortality themes from the “Requiem for Methuselah” episode he did for Trek. He’d later reprise that role in The Man from Earth: Holocene. He’s had one-off appearances on The X-Files, Stargate SG-1, Duck Dodgers, Twin Peaks, Lucifer and The Orville. He had a recurring role on Stitchers as Mitchell Blair.
Born May 20, 1961 — Owen Teale, 58. Best known role is Alliser Thorne on the just concluded Game of Thrones. He also was Will Scarlet in the superb Robin Hood where the lead role was performed by Patrick Bergin, he played the theologian Pelagius in 2004 King Arthur, was Vatrenus in yet another riff on Arthurian myth called The Last Legion, was Maldak in the “Vengeance on Varos” episode in the Era of the Sixth Doctor, and was Evan Sherman in the “Countrycide” episode of Torchwood. He’s currently playing Peter Knox in A Discovery of Witches based on the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, named after the first book in the trilogy.
Born May 20, 1992 — Jack Gleeson, 27. Joffrey Baratheon on the just concluded Game of Thrones. Earlier genre roles are all nameless but are Reign of Fire, Batman Begins and Shrooms, the latter being an Irish horror film.
(11) IN THE LID. Alasdair
Stuart says The Full Lid
for May 17 includes a visit
to the UK’s phenomenally good National Video Game Museum, a review of Vylar Kaftan’s excellent new
novella and a look at Directive, a short run podcast with endless tricks up its
sleeve. The Hugo Spotlight this week is Foz Meadows. Here’s an excerpt
about the museum —
…Some of them are demos or in beta testing like Lightmatter, which I spent a lot of time with. You’re visiting a science facility built into a mountain when the science becomes Science. Guided out by the grumpy Cave Johnson-alike whose project it is, you have to manipulate your surroundings to stay in the light. Because every shadow will kill you. It’s got that Portal‘feral science’ feel to it mixed with a great, monochrome graphic palette that throws stark light and shadow everywhere. Once this is done, I’m going to pick it up.
So that’s a game I would never have known existed. That’s still being built. And you can play for free in a museum….
A fantastical silk road city comes to life in Nafiza Azad’s richly detailed debut novel, The Candle and the Flame.
Fatima works as a messenger in the melting pot of Noor, a bustling desert city where humans and djinn live side by side. Once Noor was only a human city, but an attack by a chaotic tribe of djinn called the Shayateen wiped out the entire population — all except for Fatima and her adoptive sister and grandmother. After the massacre, a new maharajah took charge of Noor and turned to the Ifrit, powerful djinn who strive to keep order in the world, to help drive out the Shayateen and keep the city safe, for its new human and Ifrit inhabitants alike.
Dear book bloggers of the world: I’m worried about you. Please be kinder to yourselves.
Book blogging is not and was never meant to be something you are required to do every day or three times a week or on any arbitrarily defined schedule.
Book blogging is not and should not be about keeping up with other bloggers. There isn’t some prize for reading the most books, or downloading the most eARCs from Netgalley or getting the most ARCs in the mail.
Book blogging should not be something that comes before selfcare, or before your family, or before the big things in your life. Some days watching TV should come before book blogging, because we all do #selfcare differently….
Imagine spending 40 years and more than a billion dollars on a gamble.
That’s what one U.S. government science agency did. It’s now paying off big time, with new discoveries about black holes and exotic neutron stars coming almost every week.
And while three physicists shared the Nobel Prize for the work that made this possible, one of them says the real hero is a former National Science Foundation staffer named Rich Isaacson, who saw a chance to cultivate some stunning research and grabbed it.
“The thing that Rich Isaacson did was such a miracle,” says Rainer Weiss, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the 2017 Nobel laureates. “I think he’s the hero. He’s a singular hero. We just don’t have a good way of recognizing people like that. Rich was in a singular place fighting a singular war that nobody else could have fought.”
Without him, Weiss says, “we would’ve been killed dead on virtually every topic.” He and his fellow laureate Kip Thorne recently donated money to create a brand-new American Physical Society award in Isaacson’s honor.
…”I think that when the show first started, it was the book reader base that really got it going,” said David “Razor” Harris, editor of Thrones news, recap, and discussion website Winter is Coming.
“This is a show that both debuted and ran in an era where live-tweeting, after episode breakdowns, and podcasts are the norm,” said Myles McNutt, a media studies expert and assistant professor at Old Dominion University, who reviews the show for The AV Club. Twitter was barely five years old when the program debuted; Instagram would make its appearance six months after Thrones did. Earlier generations of web-savvy fans had been consigned to wikis and message boards, corners of the internet the uninitiated found easy to overlook. But instead, Thrones content was “popping up in your YouTube related videos, on the the Apple front page of top podcasts,” said McNutt.
“It sort of feels like it’s part of your feeds and your daily existence online,” he continued. “I do think there’s ubiquity to it that has encouraged people to jump onboard that might not have otherwise.”
(16) SIREN SONG. Air New Zealand encourages George R.R. Martin to finish the books — after flying to the country on one of their planes.
(17) NOT THIS FUTURE? BBC’s Jane Wakefield analyzes “The Google city that has angered Toronto”. Key quote vs. genre: “The smart city model is all about hype. They believe that if we have enough data we can solve all our problems, and we need to be skeptical about those claims.”
It was meant to be a vision of how we will all live in future – a smart city built from the internet up – offering citizens the chance to experience the very latest technology.
That would include autonomous cars, innovative ways to collect rubbish and shared spaces for communities to come together in new ways.
Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, had acquired disused land in Toronto, Canada for this bold urban experiment, which it hoped would become a model for other cities around the world.
The fact that it would be collecting a lot of data from sensors placed all around the harbourside development unsettled some.
Now many are asking whether a private firm should take charge of urban improvement at all….
…Are the emojis just an attempt to sell more chocolate to youths? Probably. But they’re also designed to do the one thing that advertisers and brand managers speaking at industry conferences love most: starting a conversation. The press release states that the selected emojis were chosen because they “feature meanings that would help to spark a conversation.” The idea that chocolate could get people talking was based on market research which concluded that 87% of kids would want to share chocolate that features emojis with others.
(20) WESTWORLD SADDLES UP AGAIN. The third season trailer has dropped — Westworld III – HBO 2020.
John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse
Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Patch O’Furr, Andrew Porter, Dann, Alasdair Stuart, and
JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor
of the day Acoustic Rob.]
By Martin Morse Wooster: Theaters
in Washington have their specialties, but Washington’s Constellation Theatre Company
is at its best when it does productions of plays by Mary Zimmerman based on
fables. I’ve seen all sorts of
productions from Constellation, including one of The Skin of Our Teeth I previously reviewed here and a
production of Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy
Play which was the worst six hours I spent in the theatre in 2018 (well, it
felt like six hours—the play was 100
the best work I’ve seen from Constellation is when they perform works by Mary
Zimmerman. Zimmerman teaches at
Northwestern and won a MacArthur Fellowship.
She’s written about 20 plays and has at least one Metropolitan Opera
commission. She also did an adaptation
of Disney’s Jungle Book for the theatre
that I’d really like to see. I don’t
know if all of Zimmerman’s plays are fantasy, but the two I’ve seen are.
The White Snake
was originally premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and has had
productions in Chicago, New York, and Baltimore before coming to
Washington. The program told me that the
story is considered one of China’s “Four Great Folktales” and that the version
familiar to us was written by Fang Menglong in 1624, based on stories that were
probably composed around 300. Looking at “Legend of the White Snake” in
Wikipedia, I learned that the story has been turned into about a dozen Chinese
movies and TV shows and was once the subject of a novella by E. Hoffman Price.
story begins with the White Snake, a mythical creature (I don’t know if she is
a god in Chinese mythology) who has obtained enlightenment after 1,500 years of
studying the Tao. But she wants to
experience the human world, so with her sidekick the Green Snake, they assume
human form, with the Green Snake becoming “Greenie,” the White Snake’s
sidekick. The White Snake falls in love,
and we see her and her boyfriend and future husband enjoying the dragon races
before marrying and settling down to raise a family.
the Abbot, who has a lot of mystical power, wants to complicate things. The abbot isn’t a villain—he just thinks
having humanoid snakes running around his town is a bad idea. So he persuades the White Snake’s husband to
come to the monastery in a subterfuge.
The White Snake and the abbot then have a cosmic battle that will
determine whether she will live in our world or have to go back to hers.
one point Zimmerman pulls back the curtain and gives us a sense of how this
drama would have been performed in China.
The Green Snake is ready to help her friend, and makes her hand into a
fist. But a pedant comes out with a
scroll and explains that the green snake’s fist is a special fist, one with the
pinky finger and forefinger slightly raised.
This makes the fist a particularly powerful one, with hands in a
position that is normally restricted to men.
So my guess is that if I saw The
White Snake in China, I’d see the same story but much more stylized.
leads—Eunice Bae as the White Snake, Momo Nakamura as the Green Snake, and Ryan
Sellers as the Abbot—were all good, and Alison Arkell Stockman competently
directed the production.
But what made the production memorable is the
music. Constellation long ago made a
deal with Tom Teasley, a really talented percussionist, to provide the scores for
some of their productions. Teasley is a
one-man band who is very good at what he does.
For this production, he worked with Chao Tian, who plays the Chinese
dulcimer; the two of them together perform as Dong Xi or “East West.” Teasley told me that their score was not
improvised at the beginning and end of the show because of light cues but much
of what I heard was improvisation. While
The White Snake was good, Teasley and
Tian’s score made the show memorable.
hope more of Mary Zimmernan’s work makes its way to Washington. She is someone whose plays fantasy lovers
Die Kasseler Liste is a growing database that presently comprises 125,000 data sets. It documents the global scale of censorship. Book bans persist across the world, on all continents, with varying reach and intensity, depending on political and social contexts.
Die Kasseler Liste covers vast territories and a large time frame. The earliest entries are taken from the „Index Librorum Prohibitorum,” which the catholic church first published in 1559 and which is represented in the database in its final version from 1948. It is but one example for censorship originating not only from government institutions. Civil and religious institutions similarly have their own history of systematically infringing on the right to freedom of expression. The Catholic lay organization Opus Dei, also featured in Die Kasseler Liste, is another case in point, where rigid and coercive reading directions provide the members with a tiered index. On the other hand, school districts and school libraries in the United States of America also have a record of systematically banning books from their collections.
…But even taking the known problems with the Retro Hugos into consideration, the breadth and variety of stories on the 1944 Retro Hugo ballot is astounding (pun fully intended), as is the fact that quite a few of them don’t really fit into the prevailing image image of what Golden Age science fiction was like. And this doesn’t just apply to left-field finalists such as Das Glasperlenspiel by Hermann Hesse in the novel category or Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and The Magic Bed-Knob by Mary Norton in the novella category, neither of whom I would have expected to make the Hugo ballot in 1944, if only because US science fiction fans wouldn’t have been familiar with them. No, there also is a lot of variety in the stories which originated in US science fiction magazines.
So let’s take a look at the novelette category at the 1944 Retro Hugos….
…The message of The Phantom Menace is that even the most stable of societies can topple with the smallest push — in this case a minor trade dispute that sets the stage for the rise of a previously obscure senator with imperial ambitions. As he did with A New Hope, Lucas cloaked that larger lesson in a PG-rated adventure that’s made with children in mind … but not the children who saw Star Wars in theaters in the ’70s. And so — unhappy with a Star Wars movie that wasn’t the Star Wars they remembered — a sizable segment of the fanbase made their displeasure known, embracing an image of themselves as the keepers of the flame, which meant that their opinion of Star Wars was the only correct opinion of Star Wars.
They found an outlet on the still-young medium the internet, where like-minded critics could congregate and launch their arguments or personal attacks anonymously out on the franchise’s creator and other fans as the prequel series continued…
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY.
One of these movies did not feature Jar Jar Binks. I hope it isn’t too toxic of me to point that out.
May 19, 1966 — The Navy Vs. The Night Monsters premiered in theaters.
May 19, 1999 — Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released theatrically.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 19, 1944 — Peter Mayhew. Chewbacca from the beginning to The Force Awakens, before his retirement from the role. The same year he first did Chewy, he had an uncredited role as the Minotaur in Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. He also shows in the Dark Towers series as The Tall Knight. (Died 2019.)
Born May 19, 1946 — Andre the Giant. Fezzik in The Princess Bride, one of all-time favourite films. Also an uncredited role as Dagoth In Conan the Destroyer. He’s actually did a number of genre roles such as The Greatest American Hero and The Six Million Dollar Man. (Died 1993.)
Born May 19, 1948 — Grace Jones, 71. First genre appearance was as Stryx in Rumstryx, an Italian TV series. Her next was Zulu in Conan the Destroyer followed by being May Day in A View to Kill and Katrina in Vamp. She was Masako Yokohama in Cyber Bandits which also starred Adam Ant. Her last genre role to date was Christoph/Christine in Wolf Girl.
Born May 19, 1948 — Paul Steven Williams. Editor, Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon and the PKDS Newsletter. Writer, The Only Apparently Real: The World of Philip K. Dick of Philip K. Dick and Theodore Sturgeon, Storyteller. (Died 2013.)
Born May 19, 1966 — Polly Walker, 53. She’s performed on Caprica as Clarice Willow and on Warehouse 13 in the recurring role of Charlotte Dupres, as well as performing the voice work for Sarkoja in John Carter. And she was in Clash of the Titans as Cassiopeia.
Born May 19, 1966 — Jodi Picoult, 53. Her Wonder Women work is exemplary (collected in Wonder Women, Volume 3 and Wonder Woman: Love and Murder).
…The robot vanguard has already set forth. Later this year India will attempt to become the fourth nation to land a probe on the moon; an Israeli attempt to get there failed in April, but its backers plan to try again. China has landed two robot rovers on the moon’s surface in the past five years. One visited the near side, the familiar pockmarked face seen from Earth; the other went to the overflown-but-never-before-visited far side. The Chinese space agency has talked of sending humans in their wake, perhaps in the early 2030s.
They may be beaten to it. Last year Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese fashion entrepreneur and art collector, signed a contract with SpaceX, the rocket firm founded by Elon Musk, for a flight around the moon. He intends to take a crew of as-yet-unspecified artists with him…
…That setup is the start to a stunning story that impressively blends together Martine’s fantastic and immersive world, a combination political thriller, cyberpunk yarn, and epic space opera that together make up a gripping read. Mahit’s situation is the perfect introduction to an unfamiliar world, as Martine moves her through the gilded halls of the Teixcalaanli capitol, meeting the politicians she’s been sent to interact with, the fantastical technologies installed in the city, and the poetry that represents the pinnacle of high culture for the empire.
Bending and stretching its conventions to imagine new, more feminist futures and new ways of experiencing gender, visionary women writers have been from the beginning an essential if often overlooked force in American science fiction. Two hundred years after Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, SF-expert Lisa Yaszek presents the best of this female tradition, from the pioneers of the Pulp Era to the radical innovators of the 1960s New Wave, in a landmark anthology that upends the common notion that SF was conceived by and for men….
Visit the companion website for more on these stories and writers, including author biographies, appreciations by contemporary writers, original pulp covers and illustrations, adaptations into other media, press coverage, and more.
(11) WHEN IN CRETE. Israeli author Yakov Merkin is not impressed. I recognize his name as someone JDA interviewed for his YouTube show.
(12) CRUMB CONTROVERSY, In “Cancel Culture Comes for Counterculture Comics” in Reason, Brian Doherty looks at pioneering underground comics artist R. Crumb and the vigorous debate about whether he should still be read or is so irretreivably racist and sexist that he should be “cancelled.”
…The brief against Crumb is both specific to his famous idiosyncrasies and generally familiar to our modern culture of outrage archeology. His art has trafficked in crude racial and anti-Semitic stereotypes, expressed an open sense of misogyny, and included depictions of incest and rape. Crumb’s comics are “seriously problematic because of the pain and harm caused by perpetuating images of racial stereotypes and sexual violence,” the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) explained last year when removing Crumb’s name from one of its exhibit rooms.
Such talk alarms Gary Groth, co-founder of Fantagraphics, the premiere American publisher of quality adult comics, including a 17-volume series of The Complete Crumb Comics. “The spontaneity and vehemence” of the backlash, Groth says, “surprised me—and I guess what also disheartened me was, I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people booing Crumb are not familiar with his work.…This visceral dislike of him has no basis in understanding who Crumb is, his place in comics history, his contribution to the form.”
(14) TRIVIAL TRIVIA. Walter Lantz, Woody Woodpecker’s creator, did the opening sequence animation along with the animation of Bella Lugosi’s Dracula turning into a bat for Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cora Buhlert, Cat Eldridge, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy,
Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Liptak, Carl Slaughter, and
Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA, Inc.) announced the winners of the 54th Annual Nebula Awards in Woodland Hills, CA on May 18.
The Nebula Awards, given annually, recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. They are selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
2018 NEBULA AWARD WINNERS
The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
The Tea Master and the Detective, Aliette de Bodard
The Only Harmless Great Thing, Brooke Bolander (Tor.com
“The Secret Lives of the Nine
Negro Teeth of George Washington”, Phenderson Djèlí Clark (Fireside 2/18)
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Charlie Brooker (House of
Tomorrow & Netflix)
The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Screenplay by: Phil Lord and
The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction
or Fantasy Book
Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt;
(1) NEBULA LIVESTREAM. You
can see it on SFWA’s YouTube channel at 8:00 p.m. Pacific.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are presenting the 2018 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing, live from the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA.
The Starship Enterprise has travelled far and wide throughout the galaxy, encountering countless civilizations — and now it is sitting in a garage in eastern Toronto.
…Bill Doern, a 51-year-old who runs a boutique public relations and marketing firm in Toronto, watched reruns of the original Star Trek television series as a boy. His favourite character is Spock. His favourite captain is Picard. When his wife was pregnant with their first child, he hoped to name the boy Mr. Sulu (they ended up naming him Elijah).
Mr. Doern is, in other words, about as much of a Trekkie as a Trekkie can be.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, he was driving home from doing some grocery shopping when he saw a scale replica of the Enterprise NCC-1701-A, last seen in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, released in 1991, on a neighbour’s front lawn.
Mr. Doern stopped to get a picture of the ship, which is about as big as a small car. As he was snapping a pic, the homeowner came out with a “For sale” sign.
…It should come as no surprise then that a joint team comprised of members of MIT’s Media Lab (Artificial Intelligence Division) and Hanson Robotics was recently formed to address the need for Fanbots – electronic replacements for geeks and nerds.
“This project actually began in Hollywood”, said Dr. Calvin, Chief Administrator for the project. “Studio heads approached us a few years ago and asked us to blue-sky a response to the negativity that was surrounding, among other things, Disney’s evisceration of the Star Wars extended universe, not to mention Paramount’s problems with Star Trek fan films, the on-going complaints about Fox’s cancellation of Firefly, the regular eruption of re-make hysteria, the encroachment of real world politics into entertainment.”
Calvin went on to explain that the studios were expressing grave concern over the reliability of fans, and concern over the increasing sense of “ownership” fans were expressing regarding favored properties. One director stated that he was “sick and tired of being told what prior works he had stolen his ideas from; another expressed dismay over fan’s insistence that some degree of logicality accompany the plots of entirely fictional characters; marketing division heads complained about the complete and utter unreliability of fan audiences who seemed to select favorites and stinkers in an entirely arbitrary and fickle manner.”…
Three years before he died last year, the brilliant caricaturist, illustrator, animator and comic strip artist, Robert Grossman completed his as-of-then unpublished magnum opus, a decade long passion titled Life On The Moon: A Completely Illustrated Novel (Yoe Books). Grossman prided himself on illustrating “the un-illustratable” — an historical graphic novel based on the “Great Moon Hoax,” the most successful fake news story ever published.
Robert Grossman and the Moon
In 1835, The New York Sun published a series of six articles declaring the discovery of life–and advanced civilization–on the moon, which the newspaper attributed to the famous contemporary astronomer Sir John Herschel. According to the Sun, the lunar inhabitants included unicorns, bison, bipedal tail-less beavers, and intelligent humanoids with bat-like wings.
…Nor is the contagion confined to American authors. Last month John Boyne, best known for the Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, received such a barrage of abuse prior to the publication of his latest book, My Brother’s Name Is Jessica, which features a transgender central character, that he was briefly forced off Twitter. Critics labelled the book ‘transphobic’, suggesting that because Boyne is not transgender the story ‘lacked authenticity’ and its title ‘misgendered’ the fictional protagonist.
At almost the same moment that Boyne was deleting his Twitter account, Lincolnshire-based Zoe Marriott, a prolific writer of YA fiction, was also being hounded on the site over her new fantasy novel, The Hand, the Eye and the Heart, because it’s set in ‘fairy-tale China’. One prominent YA blogger warned: ‘White authors need to stay the hell away from the stories of people of color.’ Curiously, said blogger’s day job involves manning the tills at Foyles, one of London’s most revered bookshops — pity the poor sod who dares trouble her for a copy of Othello, or Tolkien for that matter. The father of fantasy fiction has come in for criticism for his portrayal of orcs in The Lord of the Rings. Some feel his work is ‘racialized’. And what’s a sensitive young bookseller to do if a young customer requests a C.S. Lewis, whose Narnia books were branded ‘blatantly racist’ and misogynistic by fellow fantasy author Philip Pullman? Pullman has since been labelled ‘transphobic’ himself after tweeting in October that he was ‘finding the trans argument impossible to follow’.
…Though the rule in question specifically targets the promotion or display of “fictitious Nazis or Nazi-like organizations,” Anime NYC has been highly inconsistent in its application of the rule. Tanya the Evil, a series specifically noted in the rules, features allusions to aspects of World War II (such as the appearance of the World War II-era MP40 submachine guns or a character based on Werner Von Braun) but is entirely set in a fictional country based heavily on World War I-era Europe.
Furthermore, in a move deemed hypocritical by some fans, the close professional partnership between LeftField Media and Crunchyroll led to Anime NYC promoting a special screening of The Saga of Tanya the Evil – the Movie:…
… The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn goes way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.
At its best, GOT was a beast as rare as a friendly dragon in King’s Landing: it was sociological and institutional storytelling in a medium dominated by the psychological and the individual. This structural storytelling era of the show lasted through the seasons when it was based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, who seemed to specialize in having characters evolve in response to the broader institutional settings, incentives and norms that surround them.
After the show ran ahead of the novels, however, it was taken over by powerful Hollywood showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Some fans and critics have been assuming that the duo changed the narrative to fit Hollywood tropes or to speed things up, but that’s unlikely. In fact, they probably stuck to the narrative points that were given to them, if only in outline form, by the original author. What they did is something different, but in many ways more fundamental: Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That’s the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories….
We’re pleased to see that an inter-city bus carrier has begun to sell tickets for intercity bus service Reno-Tonopah-Las Vegas-Phoenix, starting July 3, 2019. This should give people traveling to Tonopah by air to Reno or Las Vegas an additional way of getting to Tonopah without having to rent a vehicle or group with other people doing so.
Due to attempted vandalism, Social Justice Warriors may not travel on Streamliner. Social Justice Warriors include:
Persons self-proclaiming to be “Social Justice Warriors” or “SJWs”.
Persons supporting California regulations prohibiting or restricting Streamliner operations.
Persons supporting boycotts, sabotage, agitation, protests, and terrorism against Streamliner.
(9) SMITH OBIT. Artist Dennis Neal Smith, chair of the first WesterCon in San Diego in 1966, has died reports Greg Bear.
Fond farewell to Dennis Neal Smith, famous for many things, and scholar of many things, who inspired Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” with his richly textured illustrations, and who illustrated my first story collection for Arkham House, as well as Joanna Russ’ collection.
Jackie Estrada says Smith died of
But his biggest claim to fame was his artwork. Harlan Ellison based several of his short stories on drawings by Dennis, including “Bright Eyes,” “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” and “Delusions for a Dragonslayer.” He also did the art for the first progress report for the 1972 San Diego Comic-Con and served on the committee back then.
The 1966 San Diego Westercon hotel
inspired Poul Anderson to write the immortal filk “Bouncing Potatoes”.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
May 18, 1962 — The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” based
on a story by Ray Bradbury.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series. Some are outstanding, some less so. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think read is The Holmes-Dracula File which is superb. And I know I’ve read most of the Swords tales as they came out. (Died 2007.)
Born May 18, 1934 — Elizabeth Rogers. Trek geeking time. She had two roles in the series. She provided the uncredited voice for “The Companion” in the “Metamorphosis” episode. She also portrayed Lt. Palmer, a communications officer who took the place of Uhura, in “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Way to Eden”, and the very last episode of the series, “Turnabout Intruder”. She also had appearances on Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants, Bewitched, The Swarm and Something Evil. (Died 2004.)
Born May 18, 1946 — Andreas Katsulas. I knew him as Ambassador G’Kar on Babylon 5 but had forgottenhe played played the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His first genre role on television was playing Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he had a recurring role in Max Headroom as Mr. Bartlett. He alsohad appearances on Alien Nation, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Millennium, Star Trek: Enterprise and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. (Died 2006.)
Born May 18, 1948 — R-Laurraine Tutihasi, 71. She’s a member of LASFS and the N3F. She publishes Feline Mewsings for FAPA. Not surprisingly, she’s had a number of SJW credentials in her life and her website gives honour to them here.
Born May 18, 1949 — Rick Wakeman, 70. English musician who did a number of genre themed recordings including Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Nineteen Eighty-four.
Born May 18, 1952 — Diane Duane, 67. She’s known for the the Young Wizards YA series though I’d like to single her out for her lesser known Feline Wizards series where SJW creds maintain the gates that wizards use for travel throughout the multiverse.
Born May 18, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 61. The only thing I’ve read by him is a number of works in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. I see that he’s done scripts for Dark Horse, IDW and Marvel early on. And that he’s responsible for Captain America: Hail Hydra.
Born May 18, 1969 — Ty Franck, 50. Half of the writing team along with Daniel Abraham that s James Corey, author of the Expanse series. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen behind by a volume or two as there’s just too many good series out there too keep up with all of them, damn it!
(12) SCARES THAT CARE.[Item by
Dann.] Episode 219 of The Horror Show with Brian Keene
included an announcement of the 3rd Horror Show telethon to benefit the Scares That Care charity. The
first telethon in 2017 raised over $10,000, last year’s telethon raised over
$20,000. Both events took place in Pennsylvania and heavily featured
guests living on the east coast of the United States.
This year’s event will take place on September 27-28
at Dark Delicacies
located at 822 N. Hollywood Way located in Burbank, CA. This is a new
location for the bookstore that bills itself as the “Home of Horror”.
One feature of holding this year’s event in California
is the ability to draw on the talented people in the horror genre that live and
work on the west coast of the United States.
Unlike the first two telethons, this year’s event will
take place in a location with less room for live viewing. It is hoped
that attendees will circulate in and out of the viewing area that patrons of
the store will still be able to shop.
The telethon will be broadcast live via one of the
streaming services. Online fundraising will be performed via the Scares That Care website.
Fans wanting to participate in a Scares That Care event
on the east coast can attend the “Scares
That Care Weekend from August 1 to August 4 in Williamsburg, VA.
…The sword, Valofax, is a giant sentient blade that is the embodiment of all swords and knives throughout the universe. It changes the life of a small family: Grandfather Emmett Quinlan, his son, and his son’s wife and young daughter. The story takes us from Texas to Hell and finally to the far-off home of Valofax, whose creator wants the sword back even as his planet dies all around him….
Does that mean it’s supposed to be a long distance between Texas and Hell?
If you plunked down your $2 for a Worldcon membership (Pacificon II in San Francisco this year), then you probably sent in your nominations for the Hugo Awards, honoring the best works of 1963. Last month, you got the finalists ballot. Maybe, like me, you were surprised….
What do you think accounts for the recent boom in speculative fiction?
There’s been a trend over the last 20 years of “mainstream” literary authors dipping into speculative fiction — Margaret Atwood, John Updike. (But) we’re living in a time where everything is a little more science fictional. Technology has transformed lives in a short time, things like smartphones, medical technologies. A third thing is that speculative fiction is finally opening out and including authors who had previously been kept out of the genre: people of color, women, queer people, transgendered people, disabled people. That, I think, leads to an explosion of creativity and a ton of really interesting stories.
(18) NEBULA CONFERENCE VIDEOS.
SFWA has posted several panel discussions from this weekend’s event.
Shifting To Games. With Phoebe Barton, Kate Dollarhyde, Darusha Wehm, Natalia Theodoridou, and Kate Heartfield.
Now What? Emerging writers discuss life after their debut. With Rebecca Roanhorse, Peng Shepherd, Mike Chen, R.R. Virdi and R.F. Kuang
How do the writers of 2019 incorporate modern themes while writing in past settings? With Susan Forest, Connie Willis, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kate Heartfield
(19) STAR WARS PITCH.ScreenRant lets you step inside the pitch meeting that led to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope!
Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip
Hitchcock, Jim Caughran, Dann, Nancy Sauer, Martin Morse Wooster, and Mike
Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Niall McAuley.]