Nominations Wanted for 2019 A. Bertram Chandler Award

The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF) is seeking nominations for the 2019 A. Bertram Chandler Award .

To nominate someone whom you believe has made a significant contribution to Australian science fiction and/ or Australian fandom, write or email to the ASFF, P.O. Box 215 Forest Hill Vic 3131.  Email address: awards@asff.org.au

The nomination needs to detail the nominee’s achievements and why you consider the nominee worthy of the 2019 Award.

The nomination need not be seconded, but it needs to have your name, as nominator on it, so that the ASFF can contact you if necessary.

Nominees should be recognized members of the Australian speculative fiction community, whether in professional areas such as publishing or from the myriad fandoms that make up the scene.

If accepted, nominations are added to the Chandler Awards Nominations List and considered by the Jury (usually the ASFF Committee). Nominations may be rolled over from year to year.

The winner of the 2019 Chandler will be announced at Continuum 15, the 58th Australian Science Fiction Convention.[Thanks to Rose Mitchell for the story.]

2019 Recommended SF/F List

By JJ: This thread is for posts about 2019-published works, which people have read and recommend to other Filers.

There will be no tallying of recommendations done in this thread; its purpose is to provide a source of recommendations for people who want to find something to read which will be Hugo-eligible next year.

You don’t have to stop recommending works in Pixel Scrolls, please don’t! But it would be nice if you also post here, to capture the information for other readers.

The Suggested Format for posts is:

  • Title, Author, Published by / Published in (Anthology, Collection, Website, or Magazine + Issue)
  • Hugo Category: (Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Graphic Novel, etc)
  • link (if available to read/view online)
  • optional “Brief, spoiler-free description of story premise:”
  • optional “What I liked and didn’t like about it:”
  • (Please rot-13 any spoilers.)

There is a permalink to this thread in the blog header.

SPFBO 2018 Finalists

Mark Lawrence has posted the ten Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2018 finalists. SPFBO began with a 300-book longlist, and every finalist was the top pick out of 30 reviewed by the bloggers named in parentheses.

Here’s are the finlaists in alphabetical order by author’s name. To see the current scores, click the link above.

  • Ruthless Magic (Conspiracy of Magic Book 1) by Megan Crewe
  • Sowing (The Purification Era Book 1) by Angie Grigaliunas
  • The Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss
  • Out of Nowhere (The Immortal Vagabond Healer Book 1) by Patrick LeClerc
  • We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire Book 1) by Devin Madson
  • Symphony of the Wind (The Raincatcher’s Ballad Book 1) by Steven McKinnon
  • Orconomics: A Satire (The Dark Profit Saga Book 1) by J. Zachary Pike
  • Sworn to the Night (The Wisdom’s Grave Trilogy Book 1) by Craig Schaefer
  • Aching God (Iconoclasts Book 1) by Mike Shel
  • The Anointed by Keith Ward

They’re now in phase 2 of the contest, where the participating bloggers are allowed up to 6 months to read and score the other 9 finalists, review their favorite, and lastly, review the winner.

Mark Lawrence started the SPFBO self-published fantasy book contest four years ago.

The SPFBO exists to shine a light on self-published fantasy. It exists to find excellent books that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It exists to help readers select, from the enormous range of options, books that have a better chance of entertaining them than a random choice, thereby increasing reader faith in finding a quality self-published read.

The bloggers are —

[Thanks to Dann for the story.]

Favorite SF in Translation Poll Winners Announced

The results of Science Fiction in Translation’s inaugural Favorite SFT Poll are in. Many readers participated — Rachel S. Cordasco got responses from 277 voters.

Here the top three finishers in each category (and the winner in bold).

FAVORITE SHORT STORY

  1. City X: A Novel in 101 Tweets” by Alberto Chimal, translated from the Spanish by Sara Caplan, Rita Correa, Mónica Bravo Díaz, Rachel Echeto, Emily Gilmore, Lauren Hammer, Hannah Mitchell, Matthew Mogulescu Ross, and LaTasha Weston, Latin American Literature Today
  2. “A Portuguese Ghost” by Miguel Gomes, translated from the Spanish by Katie Brown, Latin American Literature Today
  3. “Health for All” by Yoss, translated from the Spanish by George Henson, World Literature Today

 FAVORITE NOVEL

  1. Rodrigo Fresan, The Bottom of the Sky, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden,Open Letter Books
  2. Yoss, Condomnauts, translated from the Spanish by David Frye, Restless Books
  3. Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore, translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel and Ted Goossen, Knopf

FAVORITE ANTHOLOGY/COLLECTION

  1. Cristina Jurado, Alphaland, translated from the Spanish by James Womack, Nevsky Books
  2. Sara Gallardo, Land of Smoke, translated from the Spanish by Jessica Sequeira, Pushkin Press
  3. Dino Buzzati, Catastrophe, translated from the Italian by Judith Landry, Ecco Books

 FAVORITE TRANSLATOR

  1. George Henson
  2. Toshiya Kamei
  3. Katie Brown

 FAVORITE PUBLISHER/JOURNAL/MAGAZINE

  1. Latin American Literature Today
  2. World Literature Today
  3. Rosarium Publishing

[Thanks to Rachel S. Cordasco for the story.]

Best Fannish Cat

Let us return now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when Australian fans were called upon to vote for the “Best Fannish Cat” in the Ditmar Awards.

The earliest of these two forgotten episodes in SJW credential history occurred in 1991. The nominees were:

1991: Suncon, Brisbane

Best Fannish Cat

  • Apple Blossom, humans: Elaine Cochrane & Bruce Gillespie
  • Constantinople, human: Phil Wlodarczyk
  • Emma Peel, human: Terry Frost
  • Godzilla, humans: Ian Gunn & Karen Pender-Gunn
  • Honey, humans: Gerald [Smith] & Womble
  • Satan, human: Phil Wlodarczyk
  • Truffle, humans: Mark Loney & Michelle Muijsert
  • Typo, human: Roger Weddall

Typo won the award.

“It’s a long story,” recalls Bruce Gillespie. “The person who was Chair of the convention in Brisbane stuffed up many aspects of the convention. She was also part of a non-Melbourne group who believed that every aspect of the Ditmars was a cruel plot by Melbourne fans to keep all the Ditmars for themselves. So she allowed members of the convention to vote for the categories as well as the items in the categories. Irresistible bait to Melbourne fans in general — who ganged up to include Best Fannish Cat in the categories.”

Bruce Gillespie holding his cane toad Ditmars. Photo by Janice Gelb.

Marc Ortlieb says that wasn’t the only mischief fans got up to at Suncon. “That was the year that things got really silly. The NatCon was in Brisbane and, as a joke, Mark Loney created stuffed cane toads to present at the ceremony, with the real Ditmars to be presented at the closing ceremony. The cane toads were presented, but the real Ditmars weren’t ready.” The real ones would be distributed later at a Nova Mob club meeting.

Even though the award was a put-on, “Best Fannish Cat” made such an indelible impression on Australian fanhistory that the category would be revived in a future round of Ditmars.

As Gillespie sees it, “The list of nominees was regarded as so exemplary that the category was repeated (once) in a later set of the Ditmars. Apple Blossom was our nominee in 1991, and Flicker was our nominee in the much later Ditmars. Neither won, but the winners were very popular cats who had been met by many Melbourne fans. The general effect was to confirm the suspicion of Perth fans that Melbourne fans ‘did not take the Ditmars seriously’.”

Roger Weddall, owner of the winning cat, Typo, was elected the DUFF delegate in 1992. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly before leaving for North America, and ended up cutting short his trip after attending Magicon. He died a few months later. Thus it really was with affection that in 1993 someone drafted “A Modest Proposal for the [Swancon 18] Business Meeting” urging the creation of the “Roger Weddall Memorial Ditmar Controversy” and crediting him with some of these shenanigans:

It happens without warning, under no man’s control. None can predict where it will strike or how often. Yes it’s the Ditmar Controversy! It is time to take the guesswork out and have a permanent, official Ditmar Controversy each year and every year. Let us not leave it to chance and ConCom whim to arrange a proper and fitting controversy but instead let us make a firm and binding commitment for now and forever to have

The
Roger Weddall
Memorial Ditmar
Controversy

In honour of Fandom’s best Ditmar Controversers, the man who brought you the best Fannish Cat, Cane Toads and other Ditmar atrocities,

Vote Yes!

At the 1993 Natcon Business meeting

However, there are Aussie fans for whom these memories of the ’91 Ditmars are not bathed in a golden glow. A 2005 Swancon XXX progress report solicited nominations for the Tin Duck Award (a genuine, annual award) with the warning – “Please do not invent new categories. (e.g. No Best Fannish Cat. We’ve heard it before, and it wasn’t funny the first time.)”

But with the passage of time nostalgia kicked in. Dudcon 3, the 2010 Australian National Science Fiction Convention revived Best Fannish Cat as a special committee award. The less facetious eligibility rules included requirements that nominees be “natural members of the species Felis Catus,” and be alive and resident in Australia at the time of the nomination.

Aerin

Thoraiya Dyer unsuccessfully advanced her cat, Aerin, as a candidate by forcing it to be photographed in a Darth Vader costume.

Instead, these cats made the finals:

Tabby Allen

He is a big, lazy, neutered Tom, who just hangs around the house and sleeps on Genevieve’s bed. Sometimes he lays on the couch with us while we watch Doctor Who, but I cannot claim any other great fannish activity.

– James Allen

Felix Blackford

His real breeding name is Mystical Prince Felix, but he answers to Fifi. If fannish credentials other than his owning us are required, I will point out that the last line of the bio that Damien Broderick wrote for my story in the current Cosmos is: “She devotes her life to Mystical Prince Felix, a truly enormous Ragdoll cat.”
– Jenny Blackford

Peri Peri Canavan

Named for being orange with attitude, just like the sauce.
Is a firm believer in First Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevensies, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner and Supper.
Knows that a library chair is a great place to nap.
Enjoys a good SF TV show/film/book because it means an available lap.
Can time travel, if the time involved is dinner time.
Stomach is larger on the inside than the outside.
– Trudi Canavan

Flicker Gillespie

Origin: derelict building in Collingwood.
Official description: black domestic shorthair.
Fannish credentials: How many fannish cats know their fathers? Flicker is father of Harry and Sampson Gillespie, as well as Miss Smith Endacott and Rascal Taylor. Now that his fathering days have been cut short, Flicker will sit on any visiting fannish lap that stays still for more than a few seconds.
– Elaine Cochrane

Pazuzu Sparks

Named for the Exorcist’s demon,
He meows ’cause he’s endlessly dreamin’
Of food and the flap
Which he knows is a trap
Set up by that bad Nemo”s schemin’

His nemesis one day will pay
But meanwhile he spends all the day
Knowing instead
That fridge, pantry and bed
Are all his, and that that way they’ll stay.

So he’ll crash at a run through the door,
Spread litter all over the floor,
Scrounge every crumb,
Bite my elbow and thumb
then curl up with Foyle and his war.
– Robert Hood

(The verse is by Robert Hood the Australian writer – not our Rev. Bob.)

Voters chose Peri Peri Canavan as the Best Fannish Cat of 2010.

Peri Peri Canacan, the Best Fannish Cat of 2010

Pixel Scroll 3/7/19 By Thy Long Grey Pixel And Glittering Scroll

(1) ANOTHER ESCAPEE FROM LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS. Haffner Press will release as a chapbook Manly Wade Wellman’s unpublished story “Not All a Dream,” originally commissioned for Harlan Ellison’s never released anthology The Last Dangerous Visions,

“Not All a Dream” opens with poet/politician Lord Byron (1788-1824) musing over the status of his literary canon in years to come. Admiring the lasting legacy of John Milton, Byron accepts an offer to learn the truce place of his works in centuries hence—a nightmare vision gained by traveling into a dangerous future . . .

How can you get a copy of this story? By preordering Haffner Press’ two-volume omnibus of Manly Wade Wellman’s The Complete John the Balladeer between now and its release on October 31, 2019 at the World Fantasy Convention in Los Angeles. Those who do will receive the exclusive 32-page chapbook of “Not All a Dream” at no additional charge. See details here.

(2) WAR GOATS? Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher, has a four book deal with Tor.

(3) BIOPIC. A second trailer for Tolkien is out. The movie arrives in theaters May 10.

TOLKIEN explores the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among a group of fellow outcasts at school. This takes him into the outbreak of World War I, which threatens to tear the “fellowship” apart. All of these experiences would inspire Tolkien to write his famous Middle-Earth novels.

(4) CARDS REQUESTED. Martin Morse Wooster writes, “Long-time fan Ellen Vartanoff is receiving hospice care at home and would welcome humorous cards.  Her address is 4418 Renn Street, Rockville, Maryland 20853.”

(5) ZENO’S THEOREM. Sometimes the arrow doesn’t go all the way — “‘Arrow’ to End With Abbreviated Season 8 on The CW”.

Arrow, the first of the network’s current roster of DC Comics dramas, will end with its previously announced eighth season. The final season of the Stephen Amell-led drama from executive producer Greg Berlanti and Warner Bros. TV will consist of a reduced order of 10 episodes and air in the fall. The final season will air during the 2019-2020 broadcast calendar.

The decision to wrap the series arrives as CW president Mark Pedowitz was open about needing to make way for a possible second phase of DC Comics-inspired series on the network. “Things will age and we want to get the next generation of shows to keep The CW DC universe going for as long as possible,” the executive told reporters in January at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour.

What Culture thinks they know the reason why:

(6) REASONS TO VOTE. Find out what Abigail Nussbaum is putting on her Hugo ballot in the media categories. Not just a list, but a substantial discussion about each choice. For example, under Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:

Sorry to Bother You (review) – The most original, boundary-pushing SF film of 2018 by far, not only because of its gonzo third act twist, but because of its focus on matters like labor rights and organization.  One of the things I’ve noticed in writing A Political History of the Future is that we’re seeing more and more SF addressing the future of work, from the issue of automation to the question of how labor organizing might work in space.  Sorry to Bother You fits perfectly in that tradition, as a movie in which unionizing is an important, necessary step towards building a better world.  As important as it is for the Hugos to recognize works like Black Panther, I think it’s equally vital for them to acknowledge Sorry to Bother You as a major work of science fiction film.

(7) LA FESTIVAL OF BOOKS. Hundreds of authors will participate in the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books from April 13-14 on the University of Southern California campus. Here are some of the names that jumped out at me from the announcement —

(8) PORK CHOP. “Cern cuts ties with ‘sexist’ scientist Alessandro Strumia” – BBC has the story.

The European particle physics research centre Cern has cut ties with the scientist who said that women were less able at physics than men.

Cern has decided not to extend Professor Alessandro Strumia’s status of guest professor.

The decision follows an investigation into comments, first reported by BBC News, made by Prof Strumia at a Cern workshop on gender equality.

(9) ALIEN AT 40. Martin Morse Wooster, our designated reader of the Financial Times, reports from behind the paywall:

In the February 25 Financial Times Nigel Andrews, the newspaper’s film critic, has a piece on the 40th anniversary of Alien.  Andrews, collaborating with Harlan Kennedy, reported on the production of the film for American Film magazine and reprints what people involved in the film told him about the production in 1978,

Ridley Scott in 1978 said, “The story is Conradian, in the sense that you can compare the situation in Nostromo (the novel) with the situation of any group of human beings trapped in an enclosed world.  The way the same environment and events affect different people.  As for the horror, the reason I got interested in the script was that it was so simple, so linear.  It took me 40 minutes to read it.  I usually take about four days, but here it was just bang, whoomph, straight through.”

H.R. Giger in 1978 said, “They asked me to design something which could not have been made by human beings.  I tried to build it up with organic-looking parts–tubes, pipes, bones.  Everything I created in the film used the idea of bones.  I mixed up technical and organic things.  I made the alien landscape with real bones and put it together with Plasticine, pipes, and little pieces of motor.”

(10) BATMAN AT 80. The Hollywood Reporter shares “Batman 80th Anniversary Plans Unveiled by DC and Warner Bros.”

With Bruce Wayne’s alter ego celebrating his 80th year of crime-fighting this month, Warner Bros. and DC have unveiled a slate of celebratory events and publications for the Bat-versary, including live events, convention plans and the publication of the landmark 1000th issue of Detective Comics.

The celebration of Batman’s 80th, which will be marked online with the hashtag #LongLiveTheBat, will launch at SXSW in Austin, Texas, with the release of new exclusive merchandise, photo opportunities and the unveiling of a mural by a local artist. The festival will also feature a special event on March 15, when more than 1.5 million bats will fly over the city’s Congress Bridge.

Immediately following, DC will release two special anniversary comic books: the hardcover Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman — The Deluxe Edition on March 19, and the extra-length Detective Comics No. 1000, on March 27. Three days after the latter, Anaheim’s WonderCon will play host to a “Happy Birthday, Batman!” panel….

(11) THERE’S NO I IN COSPLAY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] No matter how many times the story uses the “i” word, these cosplayers are not really achieving the impossible… but they do achieve a very high difficulty factor (ScreenRant.com: “18 Impossible Star Trek Cosplays That Fans Somehow Pulled Off”). There seem to be several criteria in ranking the selections, you can judge for yourself if they’re in the “proper” order.

Star Trek has been a massive cultural institution since the first episode aired back in the late-1960s. Since that time, the series expanded beyond the Original Series into an animated continuation, multiple spinoff series, prequels, comics, graphic novels, books, and more than a dozen movies. Ever since the series first began, people were quick to create costumes honoring their favorite characters. In the beginning, the costumes weren’t incredibly elaborate due to the limited budget on the series, but as things progressed with Star Trek: The Next Generation and additional feature films, the aliens got more impressive and difficult to emulate. While there are thousands of cosplayers and fans who have thrown on a Starfleet uniform or two over the years, it takes a lot of work and time to manage a cosplay of some of the more detailed and impressive aliens.

Cosplayers who put in the time, money, and creativity to emulate their favorite characters deserve recognition for their efforts. To honor their work, we thought it would be fun to dig around the Internet and find some of our favorite cosplayers’ creations devoted to all things Star Trek. You won’t find a simple recreation of Captain Kirk on this list, but those costumes that pay homage to specific moments in Trek history or manage an approximation of an alien that requires a great deal of makeup and prosthetics will likely have made the cut. Here are our all-time favorite Star Trek cosplayers and their various creations in this list of [18] impossible Star Trek cosplays that fans somehow pulled off

(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born March 7, 1934 Gray Morrow. He was an illustrator of comics and paperback books. He is co-creator of the Marvel Comics’s Man-Thing with writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, and co-creator of DC Comics’ El Diablo with writer Robert Kanigher. If you can find a copy, The Illustrated Roger Zelazny he did in collaboration with Zelazny is most excellent. ISFDB notes that he and James Lawrence did a novel called Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.  No idea if it was tied into the series which came out the next year. (Died 2001.)
  • Born March 7, 1942 Paul Preuss, 77. I know I’ve read all of the Venus Prime series written by him off the Clarke stories. I am fairly sure I read all of them when I was in Sri Lanka where they were popular.  I don’t think I’ve read anything else by him. 
  • Born March 7, 1944 Stanley Schmidt, 75. Between 1978 and 2012 he served as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine, an amazing fear by any standard! He was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor every year from 1980 through 2006 (its final year), and for the Hugo Award for Best Editor Short Form every year from 2007 (its first year) through 2013 with him winning in 2013.  He’s also an accomplished author with more than a dozen to his name. I know I’ve read him but I can’t recall which novels in specific right now. 
  • Born March 7, 1955 Michael Jan Friedman, 64. Author of nearly sixty books of genre fiction, mostly media tie-ins. He’s written nearly forty Trek novels alone covering DS9Starfleet AcademyNext GenOriginal Series and Enterprise. He’s also done work with Star Wars, Aliens, PredatorsLois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanBatman and Robin and many others. He’s also done quite a bit of writing for DC, mostly media-ins but not all as I see SupermanFlash and Justice League among his credits.
  • Born March 7, 1959 Nick Searcy, 60. He was Nathan Ramsey in Seven Days which I personally think is the best damn time travel series ever done. And he was in 11.22.63 as Deke Simmons, based off the Stephen King novel. He was in Intelligence, a show I never knew existed, for one episode as General Greg Carter, and in The Shape of Water film, he played yet another General, this one named Frank Hoyt. And finally, I’d be remiss to overlook his run in horror as he was in American Gothic as Deputy Ben Healy. 
  • Born March 7, 1961 Ari Berk, 58. Folklorist, artist, writer and scholar of literature and comparative myth. Damn great person as well. I doubt you’ve heard of The Runes of Elfland he did with Brian Froud so I’ve linked to the Green Man review of it here. He also had a review column in the now defunct Realms of Fantasy that had such articles as “Back Over the Wall – Charles Vess Revisits the World of Stardust”.
  • Born March 7, 1970 Rachel Weisz, 49. Though better known for The Mummy films, her first genre film was Death Machine is a British-Japanese cyberpunk horror film. I’ve also got her in Chain Reaction and The Lobster
  • Born March 7, 1971 Matthew Vaughn, 48. Film producer, director, and screenwriter who is best known for Stardust, Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, X-Men: First ClassX-Men: Days of Future PastFantastic FourKingsman: The Secret Service, and its sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
  • Born March 7, 1974 Tobias Menzies, 45. He was on the Game of Thrones where he played Edmure Tully. He is probably best known for his dual role as Frank Randall and Jonathan “Black Jack” Randall in Outlander” Randall in Outlander. Am I the person who has never seen either series? He was in Finding Neverland as a Theatre Patron, in Casino Royale as Villierse who was M’s assistant, showed up in The Genius of Christopher Marlowe as the demon Mephistophilis, voiced Captain English in the all puppet Jackboots on Whitehall film and played Marius in Underworld: Blood Wars

(13) STAND BY FOR ADS! I received a press release which evidently is calling on me to publicize a forthcoming publicity campaign. Maybe we’ll get to the books later! Their headline is amusing –

GREAT POWER. NO RESPONSIBILITY.

Tom Doherty Associates is proudly launching the Magic x Mayhem campaign, on the heels of the 2018 Fearless Women campaign. 2018 was a year for breaking though barriers of gender and sex—but 2019 is the year for breaking all the rules. Gone are the days of simple good-versus-evil narratives; these are complicated times that call for complicated characters. From Game of Thrones to The Haunting of Hill House, pop culture has clearly shifted its attention to the messy, the morally ambiguous, and the weird. In short, fans want magic, and they want mayhem. The Magic x Mayhem campaign features an eclectic mix of daring new speculative fiction by fan favorite authors and new voices from the Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing imprints.

Magic and mayhem don’t just live on the pages of books; they’re doled out in fantasy realms and the real world alike by this impressive array of writers. Featured authors include Seanan McGuire (Middlegame), Cate Glass (An Illusion of Thieves), Sarah Gailey (Magic for Liars), Duncan M. Hamilton (Dragonslayer), Tamsyn Muir (Gideon the Ninth), Brian Naslund (Blood of an Exile), Saad Z. Hossain (The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday), JY Yang (The Ascent to Godhood) and more. This illustrious group of wordslingers includes bestsellers, award-winners, scholars, and influencers. Through this campaign, the authors will have a combined organic reach of 400,000, and they’re truly a rebel force to be reckoned with.

The campaign will include extensive outreach to social media influencers, a robust marketing and advertising campaign with outlets like Den of Geek and The Mary Sue, exclusive content from select participating authors, Magic x Mayhem branded events at BookExpo, BookCon, New York Comic Con and more. Follow the chaos with #magicXmayhem.

(14) THEY ALL FALL DOWN. “Penn and Teller and Mischief Theatre to produce Magic Goes Wrong” According to Chip Hitchcock, “The Play That Goes Wrong (on tour in the US) was even funnier to a former theater techie like me — my first reaction was that I wanted to have worked on all of those gimmicks. Now I’m hoping this show will also travel.”

If you went to see a show at the theatre where actors forgot their lines, props went missing or scenery collapsed, you’d probably ask for a refund.

But plays going wrong has proved to be a recipe for huge West End and Broadway success for British company Mischief Theatre.

Their current crop of shows – including The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery – are set the be joined by a new production later this year.

Magic Goes Wrong has been created by Mischief together with US magicians Penn and Teller – whose fame in the magical world is perhaps second only to Harry Potter’s.

(15) FAST FOOD. Here’s a place “Where you must catch your meal with chopsticks”.

In nagashi somen, one of Japan’s most delightful summertime food rites, noodles are sent down a bamboo chute ‘waterslide’ and you must catch your meal with your chopsticks.

It’s a sunny July day on a mountainside restaurant terrace on the island of Kyushu, Japan. A polo-shirted, 40-something Japanese businessman, a long-time friend of mine, is holding a clump of somen – thin, white wheat noodles – aloft in one hand, and beaming at me and his two foodie colleagues, who have joined us for this feast.

“Ii desu ka?” Are you ready?

“Ichi, ni, san – iku yo!”One, two, three – here they come!

He releases the noodles into a stream of water that is flowing down a 1.5m-long bamboo chute. We three are seated at the opposite end, and, as the noodles slide swiftly toward us, we plunge our chopsticks into the stream, trying to grab the slippery threads.

“Hayaku, hayaku!” – Quickly, quickly! – prim, pearl-necklaced Kimiko-san on my right exhorts herself. “Ahhh, dame da!” – Oh, missed it! – black-suited Eishi-san across from me groans. As more clumps of noodles flow toward us, we gradually lose all reserve, stabbing and laughing as we chase the elusive strands. Eventually we all raise our chopsticks, triumphantly displaying our glistening catch.

(16) WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY. BBC poses the question: “Would you want to stay in a space hotel?” “You” defined as someone with a lot of money…

Aurora Station plans to become the first hotel in space. But how likely is it we’ll be able to holiday in orbit around the Earth?

It was intended to set the travel world on fire: Aurora Station, the world’s first in-orbit hotel. The official announcement took place last April during the Space 2.0 Conference in San Jose, California. Housed aboard a structure about the size of a large private jet, guests would soar 200 miles above the Earth’s surface, enjoying epic views of the planet and the northern and southern lights.

A jaunt won’t be cheap: the 12-day-journey aboard Aurora Station, scheduled to be in orbit by 2022, starts at a cool $9.5m (£7.3m) per person. Nevertheless, the company says the waiting list is booked nearly seven months ahead.

“Part of our experience is to give people the taste of the life of a professional astronaut,” says Frank Bunger, founder and chief executive officer of Orion Span, the firm which is behind Aurora Station. “But we expect most guests will be looking out the window, calling everyone they know, and should guests get bored, we have what we call the ‘holodeck,’ a virtual reality experience. In it you can do anything you want; you can float in space, you can walk on the Moon, you can play golf.”

(17) NOT MAINLY IN THE PLAIN. “Climate change: Rain melting Greenland ice sheet ‘even in winter'”.

Rain is becoming more frequent in Greenland and accelerating the melting of its ice, a new study has found.

Scientists say they’re “surprised” to discover rain falling even during the long Arctic winter.

The massive Greenland ice-sheet is being watched closely because it holds a huge store of frozen water.

And if all of that ice melted, the sea level would rise by seven metres, threatening coastal population centres around the world.

The scientists studied satellite pictures of the ice-sheet which reveal the areas where melting is taking place.

And they combined those images with data gathered from 20 automated weather stations that recorded when rainfall occurred.

The findings, published in the journal The Cryosphere, show that while there were about two spells of winter rain every year in the early phase of the study period, that had risen to 12 spells by 2012.

(18) A PREVIOUS DELANY. At Fansided, Sarah Crocker details “20 legendary black science-fiction authors you need to know”.

…Even though some of the biggest sci-fi properties recognized today are all too often racially tone-deaf, black sci-fi authors have been producing work for well over a century. And, with the rise of more and more creators of color in sci-fi and beyond, there’s hope that the situation will get better.

What is “black science fiction”? Broadly, it’s sci-fi produced by black creators. Once you get more specific, though, it’s clear that there as many ways to write about science fiction as there are individual authors. Black sci-fi isn’t monolithic by any means. Some of the authors included here draw on American experiences, Caribbean folklore, Islamic history, modern international politics, and much, much more.

Please note that science fiction is a huge genre with many, many different subgenres, from cyberpunk, to space opera, to galactic westerns. Your own personal definition sci-fi may or may not line up totally with the one used here, but rest assured that, even if you want to quibble over particulars, these are all great works of fiction that you should read no matter what.

So, in honor of Black History Month, here are 20 incredible black science fiction authors who you should add to your reading list as soon as possible. Though this month is a good occasion to bring attention to black sci-fi and speculative fiction, don’t think this is a one-time thing. There are enough authors here to keep you reading for the rest of the year at least.

First on the list is Martin Delany:

…So, where does the science fiction come in? Starting in 1859, Delany published serialized portions of Blake, or the Huts of America, a utopian separatist novel (it wouldn’t be published in one volume until 1970). It follows Henry Blake, a revolutionary escaped slave who travels throughout the U.S. and Cuba in an attempt to organize a large-scale rebellion. The depiction of an active, intelligent, and driven black man was in strong contrast to more docile characters of the time.

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

2019 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award Finalists

Baen Books has announced the top ten finalists for the 2019 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award. The Grand Prize will be presented at the 2019 International Space Development Conference in Arlington, VA the weekend of June 6-9.

“The goal of this contest is to encourage writers to create exciting and positive stories about humankind’s near future in space,” said William Ledbetter, contest administrator. “The stories all take place within the next fifty or sixty years and show the challenges and wonders that await us as we explore and colonize the solar system. Our winners can be novices or professionals; we just care about a well told story.”

The contest is judged by top Baen editors, who read the entries “blind” with no author information included, so the winners are picked solely by merit of the stories.

This year’s top ten Jim Baen Memorial Award finalists (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Gustavo Bondoni – Argentina
  • C. Stuart Hardwick – Texas, USA
  • Harry Lang – Pennsylvania, USA
  • Jeffrey Lyman – New Jersey, USA
  • Matt McHugh – New Jersey, USA
  • Wendy Nikel- Utah, USA
  • M. T. Reiten – New Mexico, USA
  • Tiffany Smith – Texas, USA
  • Benjamin Tyler Smith – Pennsylvania, USA
  • Marie Vibbert – Ohio, USA

Four of these writers have made it to the finals before. C. Stuart Hardwick has been a finalist every year since 2015. Gustavo Bondoni, and Wendy Nikel were finalists in 2018. M.T. Reiten was a 2017 finalist with a story that placed as second runner-up.

And several have been doing a quality of work that’s placed them in contention for other sff awards. Benjamin Tyler Smith made the 2017 finals of another Baen contest, the Baen Fantasy Adventure Award. Hardwick and Vibbert also are finalists in this year’s Analog AnLab Readers’ Award. Gustavo Bondoni was a finalist for the 2018 James White Award.

For those interested in reading sixteen of the best stories from the first ten years of this contest, The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade anthology is available through Baen Books and at book stores everywhere.

2019 Lambda Literary Awards Nominees

The 31st Annual Lambda Literary Award finalists (“Lammys”) have been announced. The awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 3.

This year’s finalist were selected by a panel of more than 60 literary professionals from over 1,000 book submissions by over 300 publishers.

The categories with nominees of genre interest are reported below. The full list of 24 categories is here.

LGBTQ Anthology 

LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult 

LGBTQ SF/F/Horror

Lesbian Mystery

2019 Rhysling Award Nominees

The Science Fiction Poetry Association has finalized its 2018 Rhysling Award candidates, reports David C. Kopaska-Merkel. Eighty-nine members voted.

The Rhysling Award is given in two categories. “Best Long Poem” is for poems of 50+ lines, or for prose poems, of 500+ words. “Best Short Poem” is limited to poems of no more than 49 lines, or prose poems of no more than 499 words.

SFPA members have until June 15 to vote on the winners.

Short Poems (86 poems)
3D-Printed Brother • Millie Ho • Strange Horizons 9/25/18
Acceptable Documentation • Sonya Taaffe • Sycorax Journal 1
After Her Brother Ripped the Heads from Her Paper Dolls • Beth Cato • Mythic Delirium 4.3
Alien Interview Questions • Mary Soon Lee • Dreams and Nightmares 109
An Alien Visits an Earth Psychiatrist • John Grey • The Pedestal Magazine 82
“as if …” • LeRoy Gorman • Atlas Poetica: 25 Science Fiction Tanka & Kyoka, eds. Julie Bloss Kelsey & Susan Burch
beseeching the kitchen gods • M. C. Childs • Grievous Angel 5/20/18
Cardiad • Virginia M. Mohlere • Mythic Delirium 4.4
A City Built on Bones • Ann K. Schwader • Abyss & Apex, March
Colorless Reflexion • Cindy O’Quinn • Poppy Road Review 8/29/18
Concerning President Carter and the UFO Sighting • August Huerta • Strange Horizons 3/19/18
Consumption •  Jennifer Ruth Jackson • Eye to the Telescope 29
The Crimson Witch • K. A. Opperman • Eye to the Telescope 30
Curse of Waccasassa Lagoon • John Reinhart • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Data Value • Patricia Gomes • Star*Line 41.2
Dead-Eye Girl • Holly Lyn Walrath • Liminality 17
Dear Creator • Mary Soon Lee • Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February
The Dissolution of Icarus • Michelle Muenzler • Liminality 18
Divinatory • Rose Lemberg • Sycorax Journal 1
Down in Windy Hollow • Jenny Blackford • The School Magazine, June
Dream Catchers • Steve DeFrance • The Poet’s Haven poetry gallery
drop some amens • Brandon O’Brien • Uncanny 21
Echoes of Light from Orbit • Megan Engelhardt • Asimov’s SF, November/December
Engineered •  Bruce McAllister • Analog Science Fiction and Fact, March/April
Entanglement • David C. Kopaska-Merkel & Kendall Evans • Entanglement (diminuendo press)
Esprit d’Escalier • May Chong • Apparition Lit 1
Excalibur’s Lament • P.S. Cottier • Eye to the Telescope 27
Flat Dyson • Francis W. Alexander • Spaceports & Spidersilk, July
Forest Mother • Christina Sng • The Ladies of Horror Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge
Fortune Favors the Cold • Katherine Inskip • Abyss & Apex 68
From Her Tower, the Lady of Shalott Sees the Ice Age Come • R. Mac Jones • Eye to the Telescope 27
Galahad Returns from the Holy Wars • David E. Cowen • Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press)
Generation Ship • David Barber • Kaleidotrope, Summer
The Girl and Her Wolf Dog • Christina Sng • Spectral Realms 8
Golgothan (Shit Demon’s Sonnet) • David F Shultz • Deadman’s Tome Shit Fest, ed. Jesse Dedman (?)
Heart’s Desire • Lynn White • The Sirens Call 41
Hey Man, Nice Shot • Gretchen Tessmer • Strange Horizons 2/26/18
Intruders • Cindy O’Quinn • Star*Line 41.2
The Ladies of Lancashire • Clay F. Johnson • Eye to the Telescope 30
Laika • Holly Day • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Lament of the Four Moons • Kendall Evans & John Philip Johnson • Asimov’s SF, ?
Lost Memories • Bruce Boston • The Literary Hatchet 19
The Maenad to Her Artist Friend • Amal El-Mohtar • Strange Horizons 2/12/18
Mars Must Remember • Denise Dumars • The Pedestal Magazine 82
Mining Time • P.S. Cottier • Not Very Quiet 2
Monster, Creature, Human • Herb Kauderer • Dreams and Nightmares 109
My Little Vampire • Adele Gardner • Dreams and Nightmares 110
The Mysterious Hermit • Krystal Volney • krystalvolneyfanssite
Neuroweb • Logan Thrasher Collins • Abyss & Apex 67
The Nightmare Thing • Sandra Kasturi • Eye to the Telescope 29
O Siren • Ashley Dioses • Liquid Imagination 38
Ode to the Gorgon • K. A. Opperman • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
Okuri Inu, or the sending-off dog demon • Betsy Aoki • Uncanny 22
Our Lady of the Winter Squash • Jenny Blackford • Polu Texni 10/29/18
Pan’s Descent • Bruce Boston • Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing)
Past Is Present • Deborah L. Davitt • Modern Poetry Review 8
The Patron Saint of Alien Abductees • Noel Sloboda • Evansville Review XXVIII
Pinocchio Plays the Cotton Club • Alan Ira Gordon • Star*Line 41.3
Planck Length • David F. Shultz • Dreams and Nightmares 108
Planetary Lensing • Herb Kauderer • Dreams & Nightmares 109
Planktivorous Fish and the Structure of Pelagic Plankton • David Clink • Juniper 2:2
Pouring the Pennyroyal • Andrea Blythe & Laura Madeline Wiseman • Priestess & Hierophant 5
Quetzalcoatlus roboti Heads Home • Vince Gotera • Multiverse, ed. Russell Jones (Shoreline of Infinity)
Relic • Kari Flickinger • Riddled with Arrows 2.3
The Sea Horse Isles • Michael H. Hanson • Untimely Frost: Poetry Unthawed, eds. Suzie & Bruce Lockhart (Lycan Valley Press)
The Sea Never Says It Loves You • Fran Wilde • Uncanny 21
Seraphima • Hal Y. Zhang • Liminality 15
Son of Aswang • Vince Gotera • The Philippines Graphic, October
The Southern Lady • Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Spatial Arrangement • David F. Shultz • Abyss & Apex 65
“Stand and Wait” • Herb Kauderer • Scifaikuest print, August
Station Rain • Erik Burdett • Apparition Lit 4
Stephen Hawking • Greer Woodward • Haikuniverse 3/24/18
That’s one small step for (a) man … • Russell Jones • Dark Matters (Tapsalteerie Press)
Things That Go Bump and Smile in the Night • Kathleen A. Lawrence • Altered Reality Magazine ?
This Sacred Earth • Deborah L. Davitt • Abyss & Apex 67
Thunderstorm in Glasgow, July 25 2013 • Amal El-Mohtar • Fireside Fiction broadside
Trips to Impossible Cities • Sandra Kasturi • Amazing Stories Magazine 2
Try the Veal • Robert Beveridge • Vastarien 1
Universal Immigrants • Ann K. Schwader • Star*Line 41.1
Unstole It • Jim Davies • Altered Reality Magazine ?
Venusian Arachnoids • David F. Shultz • Star*Line 41.1
Waterworld • Terry Persun • Space & Time Magazine 131
What Is Dead • Kristin Garth • Luna Luna Magazine 4/13/18
What Loves You • Jeff Crandall • Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October
Wraiths • Wade German • Vastarien 1:1
Long Poems (54 poems)
3-Minute Future • F. J. Bergmann • Unlikely Stories V
After the Wolf • Jeff Crandall • Fantasy & Science Fiction March/April
Alima among the Trees • T. D. Walker • Projector Magazine 1
Atomic Numbers • D. A. Xaolin Spires • Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January/February
Cassini’s Mini-Packets Home • Jessy Randall • Strange Horizons 7/2/18
Cataclysm Days: Arizona Conservatives Revert to Old Forms of Worship • Chuck Von Nordheim • Liquid Imagination 37
The Cat’s Daughters • Nitoo Das • Uncanny 20
Cinderella’s Pumpkin • Colleen Anderson • Polu Texni 5/28/18
The Collaborator • Cassandra Rose Clarke • Illumen, Spring
Commemoration of the Divine Passion • William Cook • Eye to the Telescope 30
Conditions of the Curse • Herb Kauderer • Exploits in the Adirondacks, eds. (pub518)
Dragon Mountain • Mary Soon Lee • Heroic Fantasy Quarterly 35
Drug Wars • Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
The Fairies in the Crawlspace • Beth Cato • Uncanny 21
Finding Hecate • Clay F. Johnson • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
five sigils • David F. Shultz • Eye to the Telescope 27
Getting to Mars • Roger Dutcher • The Pedestal Magazine 82
If you would seek a Seeress • Rebecca Buchanan • Star*Line 41.1
In the Vaults • Adele Gardner • The Pedestal Magazine 82
It Took Some Time • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Devilfish Review 20
The Kind Thing to Do • Kurt Newton • Polu Texni 4/23/18
The Last Transport • Frank Coffman • Abyss & Apex 65
Lorelei • Ali Trotta • Uncanny 22
Lost Girls • Rachel Verkade • Liminality 15
Misstep • David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Star*Line 41.4
Mother • Deborah L. Davitt • Eternal Haunted Summer, Summer Solstice
Mother Giant • Peri Fae Blomquist • Mythic Delirium 4.4
nakajiru • D. A. Xiaolin Spires • Mithila Review 10
The Nightmares • Wade German • Spectral Realms ?
Nixon’s Planet • Peter Ullian • Secret Histories and Exobiologies (Poet’s Haven)
Om Economics • Sandra J. Lindow • 2018 SFPA Poetry Contest
Our Minds Are Jewels of Uncertainty • Terrie Leigh Relf & Kendall Evans • Star*Line 41.3
Past Far Gone • Toby Macnutt • Arsenika 3
The Poisoning •  Jessica Drake-Thom • Eye to the Telescope 29
The Prophet’s Vision • W. C. Roberts • Polu Texni 10/15/18
The Protest: Ant Work Ethic • Michael H. Payne • Civilized Beasts III, ed. Vincent Corbeau (Weasel Press)
Ragnarök: A Prism • Alexandra Seidel • Sycorax Journal 1
Rapunzel • Christina Sng • Dreams and Nightmares 109
Rex Arthurs • Deborah L. Davitt • Eye to the Telescope 27
The Sea-Wolf of Brittany • Deborah L. Davitt • Liminality 17
The Search • Deborah L. Davitt • Zetetic, May
Seven Witches • Alexandra Seidel • Eye to the Telescope 30
Skathi’s Spite • Deborah L. Davitt • Eternal Haunted Summer, Winter Solstice
Snow: White; White: Snow • Erin Robinson • Liminality 18
The Space of One Paragraph • Mark McCutcheon • Riddled with Arrows 2.2
The Stars Are Not Eternal • Kendall Evans & David C. Kopaska-Merkel • Entanglement (diminuendo press)
Third-Floor Bookstore • Herb Kauderer • Altered Reality Magazine 12
Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Monster • Bruce Boston • Birthing Monsters: Frankenstein’s Cabinet of Curiosities and Cruelties (Firbolg Publishing)
Two Dozen Restaurant Concepts for a Gentrified Mixed-Use Vacancy • James Ebersole • The Cockroach Conservatory Vol 1: The Working Zealot’s Guide to Gaining Capital in Pre-Apocalyptic America
Ursula LeGuin in the Underworld • Sarah Tolmie • On Spec: The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic, April
Verdant • F. J. Bergmann • Dreams and Nightmares 110
The Visionary • Ian Futter • Spectral Realms 9
White Siege • Alessandro Manzetti & Marge Simon • War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
The Witch’s House • Jeana Jorgenson • Liminality 15

David C. Kopaska-Merkel is the 2019 Rhysling Chair. He edited Star*Line in the late ’90s and later served as SFPA President. His 29th book, the speculative-poetry collection Metastable Systems, was nominated for the Elgin award. He edits and publishes Dreams and Nightmares, a genre poetry zine in its 33rd year of publication. In 2017 he was named an SFPA Grandmaster.