Neil Gaiman was voted the 2020 Forrest J Ackerman Award for Lifetime Achievement by the members of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society at their October 22 meeting.
The Forrest J Ackerman or Forry Award has been given by the LASFS annually since 1966 for lifetime achievement in the SF field. Usually, it is presented at Loscon, the convention hosted each Thanksgiving Weekend by the club, although the con has been postponed to 2021 due to the pandemic. Ackerman joined LASFS in the year the club was founded, 1934.
Gaiman’s many works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has previously won the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. In 2013, his novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards.
The names of all previous Forry Award winners can be seen here.
…Back in 1991, 1997, and 2007, Science Fiction World, the largest SF magazine and publisher in China, convened for international conventions that not only received government support, but featured government leaders in attendance. Since 2016, the China Association for Science and Technology has sponsored the China SF Convention in Beijing, Chengdu, and Shenzhen. Not only was the opening ceremony attended by the Chinese vice president, but association leaders and local officials have attended every year since then. In 2017, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, co-hosted the 2017 China SF Con as well as the China International SF Conference, and it was declared that the latter event would, in perpetuity, become biennial and be held in Chengdu.
The aforementioned names and their linkages may be a complicated matter, but suffice it to say, the two major SF conventions in contemporary China are led by the China Association for Science and Technology and the Sichuan Province Association for Science and Technology. Another grassroots science fiction event—the Xingyun (Nebula) Awards for Global Chinese Science Fiction ceremony—gained government support and commercial viability a few years after being financially sponsored by its founders. Unlike the fan-fueled activities of their international counterparts, the major SF conventions within China are tied to the popularization of science and development of the SF industry and rarely do without speeches from officials, high-level summits, laser light shows, closed-door banquets, and the like. To solidify the connection between domestic and foreign conventions, the science and technology associations and local governments have regularly sent representatives to Worldcon in recent years, heading overseas to study how to hold international SF conventions, with panel discussions, marketplaces, exhibitions, and parties—and various other activities that have since become commonplace. Relatively speaking, China’s science fiction conventions have become fancier, as well as more commercial, whereas overseas science fiction conventions have generally become more grassroots.
Particularly noteworthy is the case of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, home of the longstanding Chinese SF institution, Science Fiction World magazine. Today, Chengdu is competing with Memphis in the United States to host the 2023 Worldcon. This is but one such initiative designed to cement Chengdu’s reputation as the Capital of Science Fiction. According to the 2019 Chinese Science Fiction Industry Report: “In order to develop the city’s ‘Silicon Valley’ for science fiction film and television industry, Chengdu plans to invest more than 2 billion yuan and add another 200,000 square meters to its current size of 150,000 square meters, for a total gross investment of 26 billion yuan.” Chengdu is not the only local government to invest in science fiction as a growth sector. In the city of Mianyang, also in Sichuan Province, the Pisces Dome Sci-Fi World is a project that spans about 2500 Chinese mu—or 412 acres—and calls for a total gross investment of 5 billion RMB to implement cutting-edge VR/AR (virtual reality and augmented reality) technology, establishing the city as a science and technology tourist destination. In Qianjiang, Hubei Province, plans are underway for the construction of the so-called Chinese Sci-Fi Author Village, where authors will be invited to assume the post of village head and write works on the theme of the Qianjiang crawfish (a local delicacy), and engage in other related commercial activities.
Thus, it should be clear that to the Chinese government, science fiction is not only literature, but a lucrative industry….
(2) CONTRADICTING THE RECEIVED WISDOM. From [link to pirate site removed.]
HALDERMAN: You do invent wonderful landscapes. The Earthsea trilogy creates such a vivid picture of the sea—have you done a lot of sailing?
LE GUIN: All that sailing is complete fakery. It’s amazing what you can fake. I’ve never sailed anything in my life except a nine-foot catboat, and that was in the Berkeley basin in about three feet of water. And we managed to sink it. The sail got wet and it went down while we sang “Nearer My God to Thee.” We had to wade to shore, and go back to the place we’d rented it and tell them. They couldn’t believe it. “You did what?” You know, it’s interesting, they always tell people to write about what they know about. But you don’t have to know about things, you just have to be able to imagine them really well.
(3) MORE ABOUT LUPOFF. The Wikipedia reminds us:
Starting in 1977, Lupoff co-hosted a program on Pacifica Radio station KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California that featured book reviews and interviews, primarily with science fiction (and mystery) authors. Originally an occasional one-hour program called Probabilities Unlimited, after several months it became a regular weekly, half-hour program called simply Probabilities, which aired until 1995. The program relaunched that year as Cover to Cover; Lupoff departed in 2001 to focus on his writing career. Among the notable authors interviewed by Lupoff and his co-host, Richard Wolinsky, were such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Richard Adams, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Kurt Vonnegut.
(4) NYRSF READINGS. The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings for November 2 features James Morrow. The online event and starts at 7:00 Eastern. Jim Freund says —
Normally we convene (virtually or not) on the first Tuesday of each month, but this November that would mean Election Eve, and it was pointed out that may be a wee bit distracting. But you can’t ask for a better distraction than James Morrow, who will read from his latest published novella, “The Purloined Nation,” from the anthology “And the Last Trump Shall Sound.”
James Morrow is the award-winning author of over ten novels, as well as novellas and short-story collections. His critically acclaimed works include Blameless in Abaddon, New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Last Witchfinder called “provocative book-club bait” and “an inventive feat” by critic Janet Maslin. He has twice received the World Fantasy Award, for Only Begotten Daughter and Towing Jehovah, and has also won the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania, with his wife and their two enigmatic dogs.
Arc Manor Books is generously offering a 40% discount to attendees through the end of November. the other contributors are Cat Rambo and Harry Turtledove, so you’ll want to take advantage.
…My 10th birthday, in January of 1991, was a special occasion for two very different reasons. There was a war going on in Iraq, and the adults at the party talked of little else. And my maternal grandmother — a Brazilian-Italian lady who had never been the warmest of women — gave me a collection of Jules Verne’s books as a present.
Those eleven hardcover books had once belonged to my mother. They were first published in Brazil in the early 1960s, with proper names translated into Portuguese (Conseil became Conselho and the Times of London became O Tempo) — but, other than that, they were completely unabridged.
These two facts moulded my life. I was curious about that strange, televised war — even moreso when my father explained there were rules to the battle. This led me, many years later, to a Master’s Degree in International Relations, focusing on conflict and news reception (namely, how do you know what you think you know about other countries?)
And then there was Captain Nemo.
Whenever someone talks about “The Great Canon of SFF”, I notice more of what’s not being said than what is. I’m Brazilian: my canon isn’t your canon. There’s the language barrier and the cultural perspective to consider. More’s the pity if you can’t read in Portuguese: you are missing out on fantastic stuff (but that’s a topic for another moment.)…
Robert Shearman has won the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and multiple British Fantasy Awards for his fiction, some of which has been gathered in such collections as Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical (2009), Remember Why You Fear Me (2012), They Do the Same Things Different There (2014), and earlier this year, a massive three-volume collection We All Hear Stories in the Dark. His writings for television, radio, and the stage have won him the Sophie Winter Memorial Trust Award, the Sunday Times Playwriting Award, the World Drama Trust Award, and the Guinness Award for Theatre Ingenuity. He also wrote the Hugo Award-nominated Doctor Who episode “Dalek” at the request of producer Russell T. Davies.
We discussed the reason we’re lucky we each survived to adulthood, how he almost talked his way out of selling his first short story, the way he starts every story thinking it’s funny even as things turn horrific, why some readers find his new collection offensive and others uplifting, how he’s following up that three-volume, 2,000-page, 650,000-word, 101-story collection, the way his brush with COVID-19 has affected his writing, and much more.
(8) WILLETT’S NEW BOOKS. In September, Saskatchewan author, Edward Willett released two books.
The Moonlit World from DAW is the third novel in his Worldshaper series.
In The Moonlit World, fresh from their adventures in Master of the World in a world inspired by Jules Verne, Shawna Keys and Karl Yatsar find themselves in a world that mirrors much darker tales. Beneath a full moon that hangs motionless in the sky, they’re forced to flee terrifying creatures that can only be vampires…only to run straight into a pack of werewolves….
His second release, Shapers of Worlds, is an anthology project that Willett took on himself with his own press and features stories from multiple award winners and international best sellers in the science fiction genre. Shapers of Worlds was successfully Kickstarted earlier this year, raising $15,700 from more than 330 backers and the book will be available through all major retailers. The ebook came out September 22, and the print edition is coming out November 14 Regina’s Shadowpaw Press.
Shapers of Worlds features new stories from Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff, David Weber, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., D.J. Butler, Christopher Ruocchio, John C. Wright, Shelley Adina, and Willett himself, plus reprints from John Scalzi, David Brin, Joe Haldeman, Julie E. Czerneda, Fonda Lee, Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Gareth L. Powell, Derek Künsken, and Thoraiya Dyer.
All of the featured authors were guests during the first year of Willett’s podcast, The Worldshapers, winner of the 2019 Aurora Award (Canada’s top award for science fiction and fantasy) for Best Fan Related Work.
Willett is himself an award-winning author of more than sixty books of fantasy, science fiction, and non-fiction for readers of all ages.
(9) PAINSTAKING. Elizabeth Bear is interviewed about her new book, Machine, a sequel to Ancestral Night, at Fantasy Hive.
Dr. Jens in Machine has a chronic pain condition. And that’s one of the things that mediates the way through which she interacts with the world around her. What was it like writing for a character with this condition?
I have an autoimmune condition myself. So I do have a certain amount of chronic pain. It’s not as debilitating as Jens’ chronic pain. It occurred to me while I was writing this book that I have, throughout my career, actually tended to write a lot of characters with some sort of chronic pain disability. All the way back to my first published novel, Hammered, the protagonist of which is a military veteran with some long-term damage from her combat experience. This is the first time though that I’ve really been conscious of the fact that I was writing something like that out of my own experience.
It’s odd how your brain compartmentalizes things.
This is very personal, but I think it’s because I had a really bad autoimmune flare starting in about the summer of 2015. That has really changed my ability to do a lot of things that I took for granted. We all process our trauma through our art. If you try not to do it, you’re just going to be writing very two-dimensional art. And so, it was in some ways cathartic. It was in some ways difficult and emotional. But also, I feel very strongly that there need to be narratives about marginalized people that do not center that marginalization. That there need to be narratives about queer people where the entire point of the narrative is not to problematize their queerness. And having grown up very rarely seeing somebody who I felt reflected me in the books that I was reading, I like to be able to widen the door to different kinds of protagonists.
I think the real strength of science fiction and fantasy right now, my generation of writers and the generation of writers that are right after us, is that we are very diverse in our backgrounds and outlooks. And that… that is making science fiction and fantasy a much wilder and more interesting place.
(10) CHAMPION OBIT. Marge Champion, a great dancer in the 1940s and 1950s who was also a model that Disney animators used as Snow White and a hippopotamus in Fantasia died October 21 reports SYFY Wire. She was 101 years old. The Hollywood Reporter adds:
…Marge even danced for them as the dwarf Dopey, she recalled. She also served as a Disney model for the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio (1940), for Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia (1940) and for Mr. Stock in Dumbo (1941).
…In 1936, she performed before large crowds with the Los Angeles Civic Opera and a year later married Art Babbitt, the Disney animator who created Goofy (she was 17 and he was 29; they divorced in 1940). She then played Snow White in a touring vaudeville act with The Three Stooges.
(11) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1970 — Fifty years ago at Heicon ’70 which had John Brunner as Toastmaster, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin won the Hugo for Best Novel. Runner-ups were Robert Silverberg’s Up the Line, Piers Anthony’s Macroscope, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Norman Spinrad’s Bug Jack Barron. She would also win the Nebula for this novel. In all, she would garner nine Hugos with her final one being for the superlative The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition for Best Art Book as illustrated by Charles Vess.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born October 23, 1919 – Roy Lavender. Engineer. First Fandom (active at least as early as the first Worldcon, 1939; few still alive; a First Fandom organization continues). Cincinnati Fantasy Group. Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society. Fan Guest of Honor, Kubla Khatch 22. Memoir here. Len Moffatt’s appreciation here (PDF). “When the Apollo circled the Moon and the astronauts reached into B-3 locker for their cameras, they pulled them from the shock absorbing sheath I designed. On the test stand for the Saturn rockets, cameras look up into the flame to photograph the performance (or failure) of the engines. They survive in a protective box I designed.” (Died 2007) [JH]
Born October 23, 1935 — Bruce Mars, 85. He was on Trek three times, one uncredited, with his best remembered being in the most excellent Shore Leave as Finnegan. He also had one-offs in The Time Tunnel, Voyage to the Bottom of The Sea, and Mission: Impossible. (CE)
Born October 23, 1938 — Christopher Lloyd, 82. He has starred as Commander Kruge in The Search for Spock, Emmett “Doc” Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy, Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and the Addams Family Values. (Huh. I didn’t spot him in those.) Let’s not forget that he was in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension as John Bigbooté, and he played Dr. Cletus Poffenberger in a recurring role on Tremors. (CE)
Born October 23, 1938 – Bob Pepper. Ten dozen covers. Here is Titus Groan. Here is a Fahrenheit 451. Here is a Demolished Man. Here is Lord Tyger. Here is The Continent Makers. Here is Lucky Starr and the Rings of Saturn. (Died 2007) [JH]
Born October 23, 1940 — Terry Gilliam, 80. He’s directed many films of which the vast majority are firmly genre. I think I’ve seen most of them though I though I’ve not seen The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Tideland, The Zero Theorem or The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. I’ve seen everything else. Yes, I skipped past his start as the animator for Monty Python’s Flying Circus which grew out of his for the children’s series Do Not Adjust Your Set which had staff of Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. Though he largely was the animator in the series and the films, he did occasionally take acting roles according to his autobiography, particularly roles no one else wanted such those requiring extensive makeup. He’s also co-directed a number of scenes. Awards? Of course. Twelve Monkeys is the most decorated followed by Brazil with two and Time Bandits and The Fisher King which each have but one. My favorite films by him? Oh, the one I’ve watched the most is The Adventures of Baron Munchausen followed by Time Bandits. (CE)
Born October 23, 1948 – Kent Bloom, 72. Chaired Denvention 3 the 66th Worldcon. Earlier, living in Washington, DC, chaired DatClave 1 (Jack Chalker’s con report here); after moving to Denver, Smofcon 16 (SMOF for “secret masters of fandom”, as Bruce Pelz said, a joke – nonjoke – joke; SMOFcon draws people who often do the work at SF conventions and want to do it better). Host (with wife Mary Morman) of First Friday Fandom. Fan Guest of Honor (with Mary), Westercon 71. [JH]
Born October 23, 1952 – Donna Andrews, 68. A detective-fiction novel about an Artificial Intelligence personality that became sapient (I don’t know why people keep misusing “sentient” which means having senses – plants and animals are sentient, but so far as we can now perceive aren’t sapient, a distinction which makes a difference), named Turing Hopper, won the Agatha Christie award for best mystery of the year (You’ve Got Murder, 2002); three more. Many other novels and shorter stories in that genre. See her Website. [JH]
Born October 23, 1953 — Ira Steven Behr, 67. Best remembered for his work on the Trek franchise, particularly Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, on which he served as showrunner and executive producer. As writer and or producer, he been in involved in Beyond Reality, Dark Angel, The Twilight Zone, The 4400, Alphas, and Outlander. (CE)
Born October 23, 1957 – Olga Slavnikova, 63. Won the Russian Booker Prize for her novel 2017 (tr. English 2010); also for us A Light Head (2010; Eng. Light-headed 2015). Five other novels. Director since 2001 of the Debut Prize; see this 2012 New Yorker interview. [JH]
Born October 23, 1959 — Sam Raimi, 61. Responsible for, and this is not a complete listing, the Darkman franchise , M.A.N.T.I.S., the Jack of All Trades series that Kage loved, the Cleopatra 2525 series, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess series and the Spider-Man trilogy. (CE)
Born October 23, 1983 – Dan Salmieri, 37. Illustrator, sometimes for us. Here is his note about his book Bear and Wolf. Here is a sketch from the New York Times about the Twins Study brothers Mark & Scott Kelly. Here is one from Data Collector. Here is one from Brain Pickings. Here is a cover for What Do Dragons Like Best to Eat? (in Dutch). [JH]
Born October 23, 2007 — Lilly Aspell, 13. She’s a Scottish-born performer best known so far for portraying the young Diana in Wonder Woman. She was Newschild in Holmes & Watson, and Megan in the alien invasion flick Extinction. (CE)
(13) COMICS SECTION.
Close To Home says this is about Halloween but it reminds me of Dr. Moreau.
(14) CHECKING IN. Andrew Porter tears himself away from the TV to share a moment from tonight’s Jeopardy! He says, “Not SF/F, but memorable!”
Category: Movie Sum-Up
Answer: Death takes a chess holiday; your move, Max Von Sydow.
Wrong questions: “What is Checkmate?” “What is Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey?”
When they came up with the idea of adapting the classic sci-fi horror film Alien for the stage, a troupe of amateur actors from deepest Dorset intended it to be faithful to the terrifying original.
It did not quite work out as as planned. The sets were shaky, the monsters not very scary and the acting not up to Hollywood standards – only one of the cast went with an American accent, the rest stuck with English west country. Nobody was frightened.
Alien on Stage, put on by a group of bus drivers and their friends, would have sunk without a trace had it not been noticed by a couple of London-based artistic types who had the madcap idea of transferring it to the West End of London.
The weird and wonderful tale of how Alien on Stage came to be performed in the West End is being told in a documentary to be premiered on Saturday at FrightFest in London…
In this informative animation we learn how the iconic Charles Bridge was constructed in 1357. The historic bridge crosses the Vltava (Moldau) river in Prague, Czech Republic and is 516 metres (1,693 ft) long and nearly 10 metres (33 ft) wide. It was built as a bow bridge with 16 arches shielded by ice guards.
Life on Earth is most likely doomed…in a billion years or so. The Sun’s slowly increasing luminosity will trigger a runaway greenhouse effect like that seen on Venus. Later stages in stellar evolution will further sear the Earth into an airless husk (unless the red giant sun simply gobbles up the planet like a piece of candy). Oh woe is us!
The following five tales of dying worlds might be of some interest during this interesting time. Remember: when the prospect of yet another Zoom meeting provokes anxiety and loathing, we can always tell ourselves that it could be worse…
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “If A Ghost Possessed Someone in 2020” on YouTube, Ryan George explains that demonic possession just isn’t scary in tumultuous 2020.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, JJ, Mlex, Michael Toman, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Scott Edelman, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day C.A. Collins.]
The Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit announced today that Asha Thanki is the winner of the 2020 A.C. Bose Grant.
The A.C. Bose Grant, established in 2019, is an annual grant of $1,000 given to a South Asian/South Asian diaspora writer developing speculative fiction. It supports adult fiction, but work that is also accessible to older children and teens will be given preference; the donors hope this will let young people imagine different worlds and possibilities. The grant is named in honor of Ashim Chandra Bose, a lover of books and especially of science fiction and fantasy, and was founded by his children, Rupa Bose and Gautam Bose.
Thanki’s winning piece is titled “Somewhere in Bombay, a Fog Descends.” Thanki is a fiction writer and essayist living in Minneapolis, where she is completing an MFA at the University of Minnesota. She is the winner of the 2019 Arkansas International’s Emerging Writers Prize and a finalist for Redivider’s 2020 Beacon Street Prize. Her work has appeared in Platypus Press’ wildness, The Common, Catapult, Cosmonauts Avenue, Hyphen, and more. Her website is here.
Founded in January 2004 to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, the all-volunteer Speculative Literature Foundation is led by Mary Anne Mohanraj and 30 other committed volunteers. The Foundation maintains a comprehensive website offering information for readers, writers, editors and publishers of speculative fiction, develops book lists and outreach materials for schools and libraries, and raises funds for redistribution to other organizations in the field, as well as five awards made annually to writers, including the A.C. Bose Grant.
The SLF is a 501(c)3 non-profit, entirely supported by community donations. To get involved with their efforts, such as by joining as a member for $2/month, visit speculativeliterature.org.
The African Speculative Fiction Society has postponed announcing the winners of the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans due to the recent violence in Nigeria. The awards were scheduled to be presented October 22 at The Ake Arts & Book Festival held annually in that country, and even though the event has been taken online this year due to the pandemic, the organizers felt it would be inappropriate to proceed with the normal opening ceremonies where the awards are given.
The world has stood back in horror (or at least it should have done) at recent events in Nigeria. Out of respect for the people who’ve died, and to revise the Festival so that it deals with pressing issues, there will be no opening ceremony this evening at the Ake Festival, and thus no announcement of the winners of the 2020 Nommo awards. Some events dealing with the pressing issues will go ahead. Please check the Ake Festival website. This must have been a huge decision for the organisers, especially given all the thought and work that went into making Ake a Covid-aware online event. Thoughts to Lola Shoneyin and her staff. More news about when and where the Ake winners will be announced to follow
Taking the place of the Festival’s opening ceremonies are panel discussions such as this one:
On Oct. 3, a video surfaced online that appeared to show the point-blank killing of a Nigerian citizen by officers of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, commonly known as SARS. In the days since the video’s emergence, people across the country, young and some old, have taken to the streets to protest police brutality and call for SARS’s disbandment.
Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday that Nigeria’s security forces fired upon two large gatherings of peaceful protesters Tuesday night, killing 12 people calling for an end to police brutality.
At least 56 people have died during two weeks of widespread demonstrations against police violence, including 38 on Tuesday, the group said. The Nigerian government did not immediately comment about Amnesty International’s allegations.
The #EndSARS protests began amid calls for Nigeria’s government to close the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, but has become a much wider demand for better governance in Nigeria.
Despite the growing violence, the Nigerian protesters defied a curfew and faced off with security forces Wednesday as gunfire rang out and fires burned in Lagos, a day after shots were fired into a crowd of demonstrators singing the country’s national anthem.
The security forces opened fire without warning on the protesters Tuesday night at the Lekki toll plaza, Amnesty said in its report, citing eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports.
… President Muhammadu Buhari — who has said little about the protests engulfing his country — did not mention the Lekki shootings in a statement Wednesday but issued a call for calm and vowed police reforms.
Buhari’s statement said the dissolution of the SARS unit “is the first step in a set of reform policies that will deliver a police system accountable to the Nigerian people.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that the right of Nigerians “to protest peacefully needs to be guaranteed.”
He said “police brutality needs to stop, and those responsible for acts of such dramatic violence are made accountable.”
The Ake Arts & Book Festival is tweeting comments from writers and musicians about the crisis — several dozen messages can be read at the link.
This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality.
Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)
IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER
Eligible books in this category are thrillers set in any period and include, but are not limited to, spy fiction, psychological thrillers and action/adventure stories.
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER
This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality.
Trevor Wood: The Man on the Street (Quercus Fiction)
SAPERE BOOKS HISTORICAL DAGGER
This award is for the best historical crime novel, set in any period up to 50 years prior to the year in which the award will be made.
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
CRIME FICTION IN TRANSLATION DAGGER
This award is for a crime novel not originally written in English and which has been translated into English for UK publication.
Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)
SHORT STORY DAGGER
This award is for any crime short story first published in the UK in English in a publication that pays for contributions, or broadcast in the UK in return for payment.
Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
ALCS GOLD DAGGER FOR NON-FICTION
This award is for any non-fiction work on a crime-related theme by an author of any nationality.
Casey Cep: Furious Hours:Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee (William Heinemann)
DAGGER IN THE LIBRARY
The Dagger in the Library is a prize for a body of work by an established crime writer who has long been popular with borrowers from libraries, and who has supported libraries and their users.
A competition for the opening of a crime novel and synopsis, chosen by judges: bestselling author Leigh Russell, editor Stephanie Glencross (of Gregory and Company), Editorial Director at Bonnier Zaffre Katherine Armstrong and director of literary agency A.M. Heath and Co. Oli Munson.
Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies
Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife
This prestigious Dagger is awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year.
The most prestigious Dagger of all, the Diamond Dagger for a lifetime contribution to crime writing, is nominated by CWA members and selected by an industry committee.
Alongside his career as a prolific novelist, Martin Edwards is a renowned editor, reviewer, columnist and versatile writer of non-fiction, and is a leading authority on crime fiction. He has also enjoyed a separate career as a solicitor, and is recognised for his expertise in employment and equal opportunities law.
NOAF: I am so excited for Constelación Magazine! When and how, and why did you decide to make this magazine a reality?
Coral Alejandra Moore: The entire process of building Constelación from the idea to what you can see on the website and social media now was really organic. Eliana and I met at a virtual convention called Flights of Foundry in May of this year, and a few weeks later we met again at the Nebulas convention. We both happened to be a in a zoom room where John Picacio and Mary Robinette Kowal started talking about Spanish language speculative fiction because of Eliana’s experience with it, and that got the hamsters in my brain turning. A few emails, and Twitter DMs later, Eliana and I were already moving forward at warp speed, and we really haven’t stopped since then. Lots of people got quarantine puppies during the pandemic, but we got a quarantine magazine!
NOAF: What makes Constelación Magazine different from other speculative fiction magazines out there?
Eliana González Ugarte: We take stories in both English and Spanish! One of our goals is to publish more Latin American and Caribbean authors who may not be able to submit their stories directly in English, or they’d have to first pay someone to translate it for them in order to be able to submit.
(2) NEXT REVELATION. Alastair Reynolds has delivered the latest book in the Revelation Space series. It will probably be called Inhibitor Phase: “I’ve delivered a book”.
… As may be apparent to those familiar with my work, the book takes place in the Revelation Space universe and is largely set in the years after ABSOLUTION GAP, my 2003 novel.
It’s not intended as a sequel to that book, but merely another entry in the mosaic of books and stories which illuminate a larger future history. That said, it does have connective tissue with some of the other novels. although I’ve scrupled as carefully as I can to make the book function as a standalone title, a single book which tells a complete tale in its own right and can be read as “just” an isolated story.
.. What happens in the book? I’m not going to say – just yet. I can state that some of the influences that have fed into the book include a film by Ingmar Bergman, a song by Scott Walker (in fact more than one), and the closing track of a Muse album.
The Marine Corps commandant’s reading list saw some big changes this week, with the sci-fi military classic Starship Troopersgetting the boot as newer works of fiction like The White Donkeytook a place on the shelf.
The change came on Tuesday when Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger released the new reading list, which includes 46 books across a range of topics and genres….
Perhaps sensing that the minds of the moviegoing public—as much as concepts like “moviegoing” and “public” exist during the COVID-19 pandemic—were otherwise occupied with images far more horrifying than a giant Slor, Sony announced this afternoon that the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife has been pushed to June 11, 2021. For those keeping score at home, that’ll put the Jason Reitman-directed sequel into theaters 37 years after the original Ghostbusters, four months after its first revised release date, and approximately two-and-a-half years after self-proclaimed “first Ghostbusters fan” Reitman stuck his foot in his mouth upon announcing that his new addition to the comedy franchise was “for all the other fans.” But then again, what’s waiting 16 additional weeks in the midst of 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, and all of the other stuff that Dan Aykroyd might attribute to the difficulties of getting a third film set in the continuity of the first two Ghostbusters movies in front of people?
(5) A FLASH FROM FIFTY-EIGHT. Fanac.org has added 17 photos from the late Karen Anderson’s collection (thanks to Astrid Bear) to the Solacon (1958 Worldcon) album. These include half a dozen photos from “Alice in Thrillingwonderland” which was performed at the con.
In issue #795 of Karen’s fanzine Zed, you can read the script for the play starting on page 7. So now you can read the script, see the pix and imagine yourself there. There are also some wonderful masquerade photos and some individual photos as well. Thanks to Astrid for letting us put them up.
… Hynes got his start writing for Untapped New York and turned his animal-focused column into Wild City, which was released earlier this year. It’s an illustrated exploration that highlights everything from the return of the humpback whale to the pizza rat….
The illustrator of the animals on the posters is Kath Nash, who also illustrated Wild City. Each of the PSAs have more highlights about each creature. The Mandarin Duck one says “Remember this little guy? Used to be around all the time! Loved to swim in Central Park and have his picture taken. But now he’s just gone! We will always love you, Gucci duck. Please come home soon! ENJOY YOUR LOCAL WILDLIFE TODAY!” One of the mastodon says, “NEW YORK GIANTS. Mastodons were the original New Yorkers. These big buddies lived all over the city back in the day. Just imagine this furry elephant roaming around Inwood or wherever. It’s wild.”…
[…L]egendary scream queen [Jamie Lee Curtis} recently joked about the massive amount of fake blood needed to make the project [Halloween Kills] into a reality.
Halloween Kills is in the can and was set to arrive in theaters this October, before being delayed a full year amid the pandemic. Jamie Lee Curtis is as disappointed as anyone else about this, although she recently posted an awesome video from the movie’s set. The Knives Out actress shared the story behind said clip, saying:
So the second movie that we shot takes place immediately where the first movie lets off, which is similar to what Hallowen II did. Halloween II picked up exactly after Halloween I. So I’ve been stabbed in the stomach by Michael. And the first sequence is us in the back of this truck which you see us climb into at the end of the movie. I posted on Instagram this video because you’re in the back of a truck, they’re trailing behind you. But I’m supposed to literally be bleeding out, I’m supposed to be hemorrhaging. So we had to freshen the sticky blood. And they have this big bucket, like a paint bucket. And by the end of it I was like ‘Give me my bucket. I want my bucket.’ Because it was warm, and it was super cold. David called it ‘the sauce.’ He said ‘Bring in more sauce.’
[…Y]ou can check out the video that Jamie Lee Curtis was referencing [at Instagram].
(8) MONTANARI OBIT. Gianni Montanari, writer, translator, curator of the Italian prozine Urania from 1985 to 1990, has died at the age of 71 reports Fumetto Logica. Francesco Spadaro called him, “A genius I’ve known for years through printed paper, then in person in an unexpected friendship like all the great gifts life gives you.”
Montanari was also creator of the Urania Prize.
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
1990 — Thirty years ago at ConFiction, Hyperion by Dan Simmons wins the Best Novel Hugo. Runner-ups were George Alec Effinger’s A Fire in the Sun, Orson Scott Card’s Prentice Alvin, Poul Anderson‘s The Boat of a Million Years and Sheri S. Tepper‘s Grass. It is the first book of his Hyperion Cantos and was followed by The Fall of Hyperion. It would also be nominated for the BSFA and Clark, and win the Locus Award for Best SF Award. (CE)
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born October 22, 1882 – N.C. Wyeth. One of America’s greatest illustrators; his masterpiece Treasure Island; over a hundred books. For us e.g. Rip Van Winkle, Robin Hood. Outside our field e.g. Coca-Cola, Lucky Strike; Beethoven, Liszt, Wagner for Steinway & Sons; public and private buildings; patriotic images during both World Wars. Besides illustration – “Painting and illustration cannot be mixed” – portraits, landscapes. Here is a gallery. (Died 1945) [JH]
Born October 22, 1927 – Lee Jacobs. When he wrote “The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music”, filk was a typo. But it acquired a life of its own. Active in Washington, D.C, fandom; then Los Angeles. Took part in FAPA (Fantasy Amateur Press Ass’n, our oldest apa), SAPS (Spectator Am. Pr. Society, our second-oldest), SFPA (Southern Fandom Pr. Alliance), The Cult. Wrote The Ballard Chronicles (pulp-magazine parody featuring Wrai Ballard) and Redd Boggs – Superfan. (Died 1968) [JH]
Born October 22, 1938 — Derek Jacobi, 82. He played a rather nicely nasty Master in “Utopia”, a Tenth Doctor story. He’s currently Metatron on Good Omens. And he was Magisterial Emissary in The Golden Compass. I’ll single out that he’s played Macbeth at Barbican Theatre in London as part of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre ensemble. (CE)
Born October 22, 1939 — Suzy McKee Charnas, 81. I’d say The Holdfast Chronicles are her best work to date. “Boobs” won the Best Story Hugo at ConFiction. She’s also won the Otherwise, Nebula, Gaylactic Spectrum, and Lambda Literary Awards. Any of you read her Sorcery Hall series? (CE)
Born October 22, 1943 — Jim Baen. Editor of Galaxy and If for three years. He edited the sf line at Ace ad then Tor before starting his own namesake company in 1983. In late 1999, he started Webscriptions, now called Baen Ebooks, which is considered to be the first profitable e-book service. He also was the editor of Destinies and New Destinies which I remember fondly. He was nominated for Best Editor Hugo five times between 1975 and 1981 but never won. At Nippon 2007, he’d be nominated for Best Editor, Long Form. (Died 2006.) (CE)
Born October 22, 1948 – Debbie Macomber, 72. Over 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. First winner of the Quill Award; Romantic Times Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award; RITA Award. For us, three novels about three angels who work miracles but have a hard time resisting the use of human technology, which sometimes lands them in trouble; they are named – which I couldn’t resist – Shirley, Goodness and Mercy. [JH]
Born October 22, 1952 — Jeff Goldblum, 68. The Wiki page gushes over him for being in Jurassic Park and Independence Day (as well as their sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Independence Day: Resurgence, but neglects my favorite film with him in it, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, not to mention the Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake he was in. (CE)
Born October 22, 1954 — Graham Joyce. Selecting his best novel is a futile exercise as everything is fantastically good but I’ll single out Some Kind of Fairy Tale and The Tooth Fairy as the ones I found the most interesting reads. (Died 2014.) (CE)
Born October 22, 1956 — Gretchen Roper, 63. Long-time member of fandom, filker and con-runner. She co-founded Dodeka Records with her husband, Bill Roper. She received with her husband the Pegasus Award for Best Original Humorous Song, “My Husband The Filker”, and was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame. She runs The Secret Empire, a business selling filk-related stuff and other things at cons. (CE)
Born October 22, 1958 – Keith Parkinson. A hundred forty book covers, a hundred eighty interiors. Three artbooks, most recently Kingsgate. Cards. Video and online games. Here is the May 85 Amazing. Here is In the Shadow of the Master (in Dutch; English title After the King; Tolkien). (Died 2005) [JH]
Born October 22, 1960 – Dafydd ab Hugh, 60. Eight Star Trek novels, four others; four shorter stories including “The Coon Rolled Down and Ruptured His Larinks, a Squeezed Novel by Mr. Skunk” (novelette; Hugo & Nebula finalist). Served in the U.S. Navy. [JH]
Born October 22, 1992 – Carrie Hope Fletcher, 28. Four novels for us; career onstage including A Christmas Carol (Menken, Ahrens & Ockert 1994), The Addams Family (Lippa, Brickman & Elice 2009), Cinderella (Lloyd Webber, Zippell & Fennell 2019), Mary Poppins (Sherman, Sherman, Drewe & Fellows, 2004). Singer, Internet celebrity. YouTube channel with 650,000 subscribers. [JH]
(11) COMICS SECTION.
At Bizarro, Trolls and Gremlins come to an agreement.
…It isn’t that Lewis wrote these Screwtapian letters; rather, as he says in the preface published in your copy of The Screwtape Letters:
“I have no intention of explaining how the correspondence which I now offer to the public fell into my hands.”
What is intriguing about the handwritten preface, is that Lewis makes a link between Screwtape and his Ransom book–Out of the Silent Planet from 1938 and Perelandra, which he was writing at this time. This is the first sentence of the “Ransom Preface,” as I call it:
“Nothing will induce me to reveal how my friend Dr. Ransom got hold of the script which is translated in the following pages.”
It is a pretty exciting discovery and one that I have spent years working on….
First published in December 1840, Poe’s story “The Man of the Crowd” encapsulates the mystery and fear that attended the rapid development of cities and the influx of “strangers.” Though set in London, where Poe had lived as a child and whose density and growth exceeded those of American cities in 1840, the tale reflects the future shock of mid-nineteenth-century urban experience generally. For the first third of the story, the narrator, recuperating from an unnamed illness, sits alone at the “large bow-window” of a coffee house, watching the parade of pedestrians at the workday’s end. A shrewd taxonomist of urban types, he identifies the professions and social stations of passersby. The first group includes “noblemen, merchants, attorneys, tradesmen, stock-jobbers . . . men of leisure and men actively engaged in affairs of their own.” He proceeds down the social ladder, calling attention to visible clues…
…Pictures snapped by the spacecraft’s SamCam imager show the 1-foot-wide (0.3-meter) sampling head absolutely bathed in debris. Though I’m no expert, it would be hard to believe that nothing got scooped up by the collection system, known as Touch-and-Go, or TAG. But images can be deceiving, and the team, led by the University of Arizona, will spend the next week trying to figure out how much debris was collected.
Approximately one second after making touchdown, the probe fired a nitrogen gas bottle, which produced the debris cloud, according to a NASA statement. OSIRIS-REx arrived at a predetermined site called Nightingale and reached the surface during its first attempt….
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Bob Marley — Redemption Song” on Vimeo is an animation of the classic Marley song by Octave Marsel and Theo de Gueltzl.
[Thanks to Rob Thornton, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Rich Horton, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Michael J. Walsh, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]
Richard Lupoff, known to friends as Dick, died October 22 at the age of 85. His sons Tom and Ken announced on Facebook:
My dad passed away early this morning in the hospital after a brief final illness. It was peaceful. And despite severe pandemic visitation restrictions my brother and/or I were allowed to be with him at all times so that he was not alone and we got to say proper goodbyes.
A longtime fan who worked as a technical writer, or when feasible a full-time sf pro, Lupoff with his wife Pat (and Bhob Stewart) edited the Hugo-winning fanzine Xero. They were among the founders of the Fanoclasts, and of New York’s Eastercon. Dick participated in APA-F and the New York Futurian Society. As a pro, he produced 20 novels and enough short fiction to fill several collections. He edited hardcover editions of Burroughs books, wrote a biography of Burroughs, and other nonfiction books drawing on his expertise in pulp, comics and sf history.
Lupoff already was an avid sf reader when he encountered fandom in 1952 via Amazing Stories. “And suddenly I discovered a subculture of people who valued the intellectual over the physical, ideas over objects, imagination over conformity, cooperation over competition.” He decided the fastest way to become part of that world was to publish a fanzine, even though the only means of production available to him was to type each page on a sandwich of original and carbon paper. Once he had made eight copies of a zine he called SF52 he sent them to the leading faneditors of the day. A single recipient – Lee Hoffman – wrote back, which encouraged him to stick around.
In contrast to most fans, Lupoff was already a selling writer by the time he got involved. As a 14-year-old he was earning pocket money as a stringer for metropolitan newspapers, filing stories on prep school sports with the New York Times and Herald-Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Bulletin. Later, while an undergraduate at the University of Miami, he wrote news items for the Coral Gables, Florida, Times, and for WIOD, Miami’s 6:00 o’clock news five days a week. “It was like living in a movie,” he remembered.
After college and a two-year hitch as a conscript in the U.S. Army, he was hired as a technical writer for what was then Sperry Univac at a salary of $350 a month. This enabled Dick and Pat Lupoff to marry in 1958. They lived in Westchester County just north of New York City, where “it was possible for a young couple to lead a very pleasant upper-middle-class life on that salary.”
He was impressed by his first sight of a computer:
Univac I. It had 1000 *words* of memory, roughly the equivalent of 12K bytes. The storage medium was a mercury delay line, and if you wanted to look at the memory you had to open a door in the side of a garage-sized metal structure and walk inside. It held half a dozen people comfortably.
He worked for Sperry for five years, then IBM for seven. The last several years at IBM were spent writing and directing movies. In the evenings and other free time he wrote. His first book, Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, came out in 1965, and his first novel, One Million Centuries, in 1967.
Lupoff said that first novel and his fiction-writing career generally was helped with a push in the right direction from Andrew Porter:
FWIW, I want to offer a tip of the tam to Andy Porter. In 1965 I brought out my first book. It was nonfiction. I kept saying that I was going to write a novel but I kept stalling. Finally Andy took the train from New York City up to Poughkeepsie, where Pat and I were living at the time.
He kept pressuring me to stop talking about writing a novel and for heaven’s sake sit down and write. I finally did, and the result was One Million Centuries, certainly not an “Eighty-Yard Run” quality effort, but a respectable novel which went through a couple of editions (Lancer, later Timescape/Pocket) and got my career as a fiction writer rolling.
If it hadn’t been for Andy, I might have spent the next thirty years writing computer manuals and regretting what-might-have-been.
Andy, did I ever thank you for what you did? Probably not. So even at this very late date, and in front of the large and distinguished audience that we call Fictionmags — Thank you!
But it wasn’t until 1970 that, with Pat’s support and encouragement, he went full-time as a pro sff writer. His work was well-received. His novella “With the Bentfin Boomer Boys on Little Old New Alabama” in Harlan Ellison’s Again, Dangerous Visions was a Nebula nominee (1973). He earned two Hugo nominations for his short fiction, “After the Dreamtime” (1975), and “Sail the Tide of Mourning” (1976 – a Nebula nominee, too). His books during the decade included Sacred Locomotive Flies (1971), Into the Aether (1974), The Triune Man (1976), and two Buck Rogers novels under his Addison E. Steele pseudonym. His entertaining collection of parodies on other sf authors, The Ova Hamlet Papers came out in 1979.
During that period he also wrote the short story “12:01 P.M.” (1973), adapted as the Oscar-nominated short film 12:01 pm (1990) and the TV movie 12:01 (1993). (Lupoff appeared in both films as an extra.) The major plot device is a time loop, so similar to that of 1993’s Groundhog Day that Lupoff and Jonathan Heap, director of the 1990 film, were “outraged” by the apparent theft of the idea, but “After half a year of lawyers’ conferences and emotional stress, we agreed to put the matter behind us and get on with our lives.”
An economic downturn at the end of the Seventies affected Lupoff’s markets and pushed him back into the workforce for a few years. But when given the opportunity to write full-time again, he said he found “The lesson that I had to accept was that the field had moved on, leaving me behind. It’s painful to say this, but it was nonetheless true.” However, he was able to rebrand himself as a mystery writer, and in that genre he enjoyed fresh success with The Comic Book Killer, featuring the detective team of insurance investigator Hobart Lindsey and Berkeley police officer Marvia Plum. That was followed by The Classic Car Killer, The Bessie Blue Killer, The Sepia Siren Killer, and (coming in 1995) The Cover Girl Killer.
By the start of the 21st century, Dick and Pat Lupoff, who had raised three children, also were looked on as the lineal ancestors of comics fandom, a fact they celebrated by publishing a book of selections from their famous fanzine, The Best of Xero (2004) – which was, in turn, nominated for the Best Related Book Hugo (2005). John Hertz’ review describes the fanzine’s early days and names some of the well-known contributors:
Pat & Dick Lupoff typed stencils in their Manhattan apartment, printed them on a machine in Noreen & Larry Shaw’s basement, collated by hand, and lugged the results to s-f cons or stuffed them in mailboxes. The machine had not been given by Damon Knight, A.J. Budrys explained in a letter after a while, but lent. Eventually drawings could be scanned by electro-stencil, a higher tech. Colored ink joined colored paper, sometimes wildly colored. Xero could be spectacular.
…You’ll also see Anthony Boucher, Harlan Ellison, Ethel Lindsay, Fred Pohl, Rick Sneary, Bob Tucker as “Hoy Ping Pong”, Harry Warner — fans and pros mixing it up. Roger Ebert, later a movie critic, contributed poetry, often free-style, or formal and funny…
Even before starting Xero, the Lupoffs paid tribute to comics in their iconic costumes for the 1960 Worldcon masquerade, as Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel.
Pat Lupoff died in 2018. Dick was in Assisted Living these last few years, but still got around. He was a fixture at the annual Paperback Show in LA (see the photo of him at the 2019 event), one of the many places his absence will be felt.