Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Socrates P. Manoukian held a trial setting conference today in Jon Del Arroz’ suit against the 2018 Worldcon committee (Jonathan Del Arroz vs San Francisco Conventions, Inc. et al).
According Del Arroz, the suit will go to trial on June 14, 2021.
Of the 19 defendants originally named in Del Arroz’ lawsuit against Worldcon 76, only San Francisco Science Fiction Convention Inc. is still before the court, the rest having been dismissed last year. SFSFC Inc. is the parent corporation of Worldcon 76 (2018).
The award recognizes work in a specialized segment of sff field, described in the Wikipedia:
Uchronia refers to a hypothetical or fictional time-period of our world, in contrast to altogether fictional lands or worlds. A concept similar to alternate history but different in the manner that uchronic times are not easily defined.
Middle-Earth and the Hyborean Age are examples of uchronic settings.
PRIX LITTÉRAIRE [rewarding essays and novels]
Les Miracles du bazar Namiya by Keigo Higashino (translated by Sophie Refle), éditions Actes Sud collection Exofictions
PRIX GRAPHIQUE [comics, covers and other pictorial initiatives]
The COVID-19 pandemic did not allow the jury to rule in this category.
The jury would however like to point out volume 2 of the series The Last Atlas by Fabien Vehlmann, Gwen De Bonneval, Hervé Tanquerelle and Fred Blanchard (published by Dupuis editions). Volume 1 received the ActuSF award for uchronie 2019. Volume 2 confirms the quality of the series.
PRIX SPÉCIAL [rewarding an original uchronic work, be it a game, an exhibition, etc.]
Guest Post by Feng Zhang: The beta version of Chinese Science Fiction Database (CSFDB) was just released. The database website is at https://csfdb.scifi-wiki.com/
CSFDB is the first and largest database for Chinese speculative fiction, containing information about 8600+ people, 24000+ titles, 7300+ books, as well as numerous awards, publishers/magazines, and organizations. And it is growing everyday.
The website is in Chinese of course, but there is a lot of information about foreign authors and their titles translated into Chinese. The original names of the authors and titles are shown on the people and title page. See the below for an example. Writers and fans can use CSFDB to check out who and what have been introduced to China already.
CSFDB is developed and administered by a small team consisting of SF fans who devote much of their time to this voluntary project.
The inaugural virtual Ring of Fire Convention (ROFCON) has been rescheduled to October 8-11. The change from the originally announced mid-September dates has also allowed the organizers to add a day to the virtual event.
Walt Boyes, Editor, Grantville Gazette and Ring of Fire Press explained:
We were looking at the schedule and realized that we want to provide the best experience for everyone coming. To do that the RoF team discussed the technical requirements and opportunities for doing ROFCON later than announced. Since ROFCON will be virtual it has presented us with the opportunity to do more with a bit of extra time and investment. Postponing a virtual convention presents much less of a problem for guests, since there are no travel or hotel expenses or reservations involved, so we decided to be ambitious.
The announced guests include: Steven Barnes, David Brin, DJ Butler, Eric Flint, Charles Gannon, Cecelia Holland, Tom Kidd, Mercedes Lackey, Jody Lynn Nye, Christopher Ruocchio, Tom Smith, David Weber, and Toni Weisskopf.
Attendance at the convention is free but you need to register to attend. Register at the link.
The Daggers were first given in 1955, but for the first five years CWA called its top honor the Crossed Red Herring Award.
The award’s shortlist will come out this summer, and the winners will be revealed at a ceremony on October 22.
This award is for the best crime novel by an author of any nationality.
Claire Askew: What You Pay For (Hodder & Stoughton)
Gary Bell: Beyond Reasonable Doubt (Raven Books)
Lou Berney: November Road (Harper Fiction)
MW Craven: Black Summer (Constable)
John Fairfax: Forced Confessions (Little, Brown)
Lucy Foley: The Guest List (Harper Fiction)
Elly Griffiths: The Lantern Men (Quercus Fiction)
Chris Hammer: Silver (Wildfire)
Mick Herron: Joe Country (John Murray)
SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)
Patrick McGuinness: Throw Me to the Wolves (Jonathan Cape)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)
Scott Phillips: That Left Turn at Albuquerque (Soho Crime)
Michael Robotham: Good Girl, Bad Girl (Sphere)
Tim Weaver: No One Home (Michael Joseph)
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)
Tom Chatfield: This is Gomorrah (Hodder & Stoughton)
Karen Cleveland: Keep You Close (Bantam Press)
AA Dhand: One Way Out (Bantam Press)
Eva Dolan: Between Two Evils (Raven Books)
Helen Fields: Perfect Kill (Avon)
Oliver Harris: A Shadow Intelligence (Little, Brown)
Peter Heller: The River (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
Greg Iles: Cemetery Road (Harper Fiction)
David Koepp: Cold Storage (HQ)
Adrian McKinty: The Chain (Orion Fiction)
Alex North: The Whisper Man (Michael Joseph)
Andrew Taylor: The King’s Evil (Harper Fiction)
JOHN CREASEY (NEW BLOOD) DAGGER
This award is for the best crime novel by a first-time author of any nationality.
Steph Cha: Your House Will Pay (Faber & Faber)
Sherryl Clark: Trust Me, I’m Dead (Verve Books)
Samantha Downing: My Lovely Wife (Michael Joseph)
Philippa East: Little White Lies (HQ)
Andrew James Greig: Whirligig (Fledgling Press)
AS Hatch: This Dark Little Place (Serpent’s Tail)
James Von Leyden: A Death in the Medina (Constable)
Deborah Masson: Hold Your Tongue (Corgi)
Owen Matthews: Black Sun (Bantam Press)
Felicity McLean: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone (Point Blank)
Robin Morgan-Bentley: The Wreckage (Trapeze)
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.
Alis Hawkins: In Two Minds (The Dome Press)
Philip Kerr: Metropolis (Quercus Fiction)
SG MacLean: The Bear Pit (Quercus Fiction)
Abir Mukherjee: Death in the East (Harvill Secker)
SW Perry: The Serpent’s Mark (Corvus)
Alex Reeve: The Anarchists’ Club (Raven Books)
Gareth Rubin: Liberation Square (Michael Joseph)
SD Sykes: The Bone Fire (Hodder & Stoughton)
Andrew Taylor: The King’s Evil (Harper Collins)
Lynne Truss: The Man That Got Away (Raven Books)
Nicola Upson: Sorry for the Dead (Faber & Faber)
Ovidia Yu: The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Constable)
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.
Edoardo Albinati: The Catholic School, translated by Anthony Shugaar (Picador)
Marion Brunet: Summer of Reckoning, translated by Katherine Gregor (Bitter Lemon Press)
Hannelore Cayre: The Godmother, translated by Stephanie Smee (Old Street Publishing)
K Ferrari: Like Flies from Afar, translated by Adrian Nathan West (Canongate Books)
Jorge Galán: November, translated by Jason Wilson (Constable)
Johana Gustawsson: Blood Song, translated by David Warriner (Orenda Books)
Jørn Lier Horst: The Cabin, translated by Anne Bruce (Michael Joseph)
Sergio Olguin: The Fragility of Bodies, translated by Miranda France (Bitter Lemon Press)
Leonardo Padura: Grab a Snake by the Tail, translated by Peter Bush (Bitter Lemon Press)
Antti Tuomainen: Little Siberia, translated by David Hackston (Orenda Books)
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.
Fiona Cummins: Dead Weight in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Jeffery Deaver: Connecting the Dots in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Jeffery Deaver: The Bully in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Paul Finch: The New Lad in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Christopher Fowler: The Washing in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Christopher Fowler: Bryant and May and The Devil’s Triangle in Bryant and May: England’s Finest (Doubleday)
Lauren Henderson: #Me Too in Invisible Blood, edited by Maxim Jakubowski (Titan Books)
Louise Jensen: The Recipe in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Dean Koontz: Kittens in Exit Wounds, edited by Paul B Kane and Marie O’Regan (Titan Books)
Syd Moore: Easily Made in 12 Strange Days of Christmas (Point Blank Press)
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 (William Heinemann)
Julia Ebner: Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Peter Everett: Corrupt Bodies (Icon Books)
Caroline Goode: Honour: Achieving Justice for Banaz Mahmod (Oneworld Publications)
Joanna Jolly: Red River Girl (Virago)
Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey: She Said (Bloomsbury Circus)
Sean O’Connor: The Fatal Passion of Alma Rattenbury (Simon & Schuster)
Adam Sisman: The Professor and the Parson: A Story of Desire, Deceit and Defrocking (Profile Books)
Susannah Stapleton: The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective (Picador)
Fred Vermorel: Dead Fashion Girl: A Situationist Detective Story (Strange Attractor Press)
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.
Barbara Austin: Lowlands
Anna Caig: The Spae-Wife
Loraine Fowlow: Undercut
Leanne Fry: Whipstick
Kim Hays: Pesticide
Jack Kapica: Blogger’s End
Nicholas Morrish: Emergency Drill
Josephine Moulds: Revolution Never Lies
Michael Munro: Bitter Lake
Karen Taylor: Grim Fairy Tale
Jane Wing: Dark Pastimes
Sarah Yarwood-Lovett: A Generation of Vipers
This prestigious Dagger is awarded annually to the Best Crime and Mystery Publisher of the Year.
Allison & Busby
Head of Zeus
Awarded every year to an author whose crime-writing career has been marked by sustained excellence, and who has made a significant contribution to the genre. Votes from CWA members go forward to be deliberated on by an independent panel. This year’s recipient is —
Cue the Hamilton quotes: Soon the room where it happens will be your living room! Shout it to the rooftops that the Broadway sensation Hamilton will be available for home viewing this summer! Look around, look around to see how lucky we are to be alive in a world where Hamilton is coming to Disney+ on July 3, more than 15 months ahead of schedule!
What will be the effects when Hamilton joins the Disneyverse?
1, Does this mean Alex H has a chance to be a Jedi, and use the force to avoid being shot to death?
2, Will Hawkeye miss his shot?
3, Will the Avengers, or at least Spider-Man, get involved in the Rev War? Will Tony Stark pal around with Ben Franklin?
4, Will Paul Revere ride on Dumbo instead of his horse?
5, Will the Schuyler sisters get Frozen freeze-powers?
Is this enough to justify signing up for Disney+?
Good question — but realistically, either the free trial or a month’s worth should do it. It’s not like Hamilton is going to be a 12-episode season…unless they do the Hamilton/Star Wars/Avengers Crossover, where Luke gets to sing about not missing his shot, etc. Or Force Ghosts doing “What’d I Miss?”
“Luke the Son of Anakin,” whose lyrics were written by comedian Nick Jack Pappas, tells the Skywalker saga to a tune from the smash musical about the ten-dollar founding father. It parodies the show’s opening number with a spoiler-heavy summary of Luke’s journey from space farm boy to Jedi knight and finally to lost recluse in the latest installment of the series.
Hux [Hamilton Parody] (Aug 2016)
Luke Skywalker Hamilton (Dec 2015)
Darth Vader sings You’ll Be Back [Hamilton Parody] (Feb 2017)
Star Wars / Hamilton Awakens – The Musical (Sept 2016)
ComiXology has hundreds — possibly close to a thousand — of comic issues available.
Via the web site, go to the “Free” link in the Quick Links bar on the right.
Via the app (I’m using the iOS app, FWIW), click on the Down-Arrow-In-A-Box at the upper left of the “Discover” page (if this doesn’t come up automatically, go to the bottom bar of the page to click on Discover.)
I don’t know if you need do sign in, but an account is free. (The main point of the app is to let you buy digital comics.)
For access to lots more — over 25,000, from not just DC and Marvel but also Dark Horse, Dynamite and many other publishers — sign up for ComiXology Unlimited, $5.99/month. (And the free trial is 60 days – just be sure to cancel in time if you don’t want to continue.)
Hoopla Digital, which allows a set (by your library) number of borrows per month, has also added “Unlimited Bonus Borrows” that don’t count against your monthly quota — included dozens of comics and book-collections-of-comics. (So, for example, the Omnibus versions of Garth Ennis’ The Boys, which each aggregate two of the original book-collection volumes, mean you could read the full series in six “borrows”… and since they’re in the “Unlimited Bonus Borrows,” you’d still have a lot of borrows left for the month. Lots of comics — from DC, Marvel, and others (and e-books, music and video) for all ages and interests! And you can download to mobile devices for off-line enjoyment.
Hoopla access is free; you sign up using your library card (assuming your library has signed up with Hoopla, since the library pays for each time you borrow.)
Marvel Comics “GET STARTED WITH FREE ISSUES” says they have a bunch of free issues here. And Marvel Unlimited — $9.99/month or $69/year, with access to 27,000+ comics, has added free access to several dozen Marvel comics.
According to Marvel, “To access Marvel Unlimited’s free comics offering, download or update the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android at the respective Apple and Google Play app stores, and click ‘Free Comics’ on the landing screen. No payment information or trial subscriptions will be required for the selection of free comics…Customers on the Marvel Comics App and webstore as well as comiXology will also have free access to these stories for a limited time.” (Although where these are on ComiXology is not, so far, obvious to yours truly.)
As for DC, I can’t at the moment tell if they offer anything free directly (as opposed to via ComiXology, Hoopla, etc.). DC’s DCUniverse.com site/app, $74.99/year (7-day free trial), gives you access to not just 25,000+ comics, but also lots of DC/Warner videos, TV episodes, movies and more — including DC’s live-action Doom Patrol (1 season) and Titans (2 seasons).
Want more free or cheep comics? Don’t forget other public library apps like OverDrive, Freeding, and Libby… and the freebies/cheapies in Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime Reading.
Miller is the author of the Nebula-winning The Art of
Starving. Miller’s second novel Blackfish
City—a shortlist selection of the 2019 Neukom Awards—tells the
story of life set in a floating Arctic city where rising seas have caused
dramatic geopolitical changes. His most recent book, Destroy All
Monsters, was published in 2019.
“The imagined futures of some of the best speculative fiction
have always felt uncomfortably close,” said Dan Rockmore,
director of Dartmouth’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science and creator
of the award program. “We are excited to have Sam Miller, one of the most
imaginative writers of our day, guide us through this year’s awards under
circumstances that seem like they were pulled from the pages of a spec fic
The Neukom awards program presents prizes in two book
categories: one for a debut author, and another in an open author category.
There is also a separate award for playwriting. Miller will serve as a judge
for the book awards.
“We’re living in weird and terrifying times that rival the best
speculative fiction in their outlandishness,” said Miller, a recipient of the Shirley Jackson
Award. “My peers and heroes in the genre community are rising to the challenge
by writing magnificent books that not only capture the true horror of how we’re
destroying the world, but the hope and power we have to save it. We’ve seen
some astonishing novels come out in the past year, and I’m excited to help
celebrate some of them as part of the Neukom Awards.”
Each Neukom award comes with a $5,000 honorarium given as a part
of Dartmouth programming. The literary awards will be presented during a panel
scheduled for fall of 2020. The playwriting award also includes the opportunity
to develop and perform the script, first as a part of the summer VoxFest program
and then later with the local Northern Stage theatre group.
The short list of books for this year’s awards will be made
public in May. The list will be decided by Rockmore, along with Dartmouth
colleagues Eric Schaller, Tarek El-Ariss,
and Peter Orner,
as well as The Santa Fe Institute’s Jessica Flack.
The awards will be announced in June.
Additional information on the awards may be found on the Neukom
Institute website here.
By John Hertz: The only current annual fanziners’ convention I know of is
Corflu. Another called Ditto having run two decades, not always
annually, fell asleep. An attempt at another called Toner lasted, if
memory serves, two years.
Corflu is mimeograph correction fluid, once
indispensable. The Mimeograph was a 19th Century invention for
making inexpensive copies by forcing ink through stencils held on a rotating
drum. In the United States, “Mimeograph” was a registered trademark of
A.B. Dick Co., but was allowed to become generic.
Gestetner-brand machines appeared
a few years later. With Roneo-brand machines you could change drums to
change the color of ink. Rex Rotary was another
brand. I’m not sure how widely mimeograph or mimeo was
used as a generic term outside the U.S.
Many thought this the Grade A
technology for fanzine publication until cheap photocopying
arrived. Corflu was essential so as to cure misteaks.
Spirit duplication, which always sounded to me like something out of a fantasy
story, was a 1920s tech. Writing on a master sheet pressed the
master against a second, inked sheet; the master, duly inked on its back side,
and attached to a drum, was rolled over a wick holding an alcohol-based solvent
that transferred ink onto paper.
The Ditto brand was best known;
another was Heyer. You could
correct errors with skillful use of a razor blade, or an X-Acto knife, and
rewriting (or even retyping).
Each of these had various
advantages, disadvantages, and know-how. Generally mimeo could
reproduce more copies, spirit duplication was cheaper.
Toner is the powdery ink used in
laser printers and many photocopiers.
As Paul Skelton recently quoted
from Marshall McLuhan in Raucous
Caucus 7, when technology becomes obsolete it reshapes into an art
form. Actually McLuhan also said obsolescence isn’t an ending, it’s a
beginning. Speaking for myself I’m big on Right tool for
Corflu XXXVII was March 13-15,
2020, at College Station, Texas, U.S.A. (some cons get names; this one was
“Corflu Heatwave”). Corflu XXXVIII is scheduled for March 26-28,
2021, at Bristol, England, U.K. (“Corflu Concorde”). Seldom able to
attend in person, I’ve been a faithful Supporting Member, and happily recommend
membership in either kind.
If you’re electronic you can
or you can always write to me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA
(1) JEMISIN EVENT CONVERTED TO LIVESTREAM. N.K. Jemisin’s in-person
appearance at the Arthur C. Clarke Center
for Human Imagination has been converted to a virtual event, due to steps
being taken to protect the health of
the UC San Diego community and slow the spread of COVID-19. Use the Eventbrite
link to secure access.
N.K. Jemisin’s in-person event for The City We Became has, unfortunately, had to be canceled, but we are pleased to be able to offer you access to an exclusive virtual event streamed live. You’ll get a chance to hear about The City We Became and ask Jemisin questions. Only ticket-holders will have access-plus, you will still receive a copy of the book, with an option to sign up for a signed bookplate from Orbit during the event.
The virtual event will take place at the same time as the original event, 7pm on Friday, April 3rd. Tickets are still available through Eventbrite. If you have already purchased a ticket and would like to request a refund, you may do so through Eventbrite. However we hope you choose to join us in celebrating The City We Became! All ticket purchases help support the author, Mysterious Galaxy bookstore, the publisher, and this thing we call human imagination.
And you have to buy the magazine to see this next Jemisin-related
item. Kevin Hogan reports: “I was surprised
but pleased to see a one-page The Making of the Book segment in Entertainment
Weekly (April 2020, issue # 1586, page 90) on N.K. Jemisin and her upcoming
novel, The City We Became. It’s always nice to see genre covered in ‘popular
S. Arnold, the Balticon 54 Hotel Liaison, asks for understanding about how reservation
cancellations were sent by the hotel before the con could notify its members.
We sent a letter to the Balticon hotel asking for their opinion as to if they would be able to host Balticon this year and if they could not do so we would need to cancel the event.
The hotel management determined that it was very unlikely they would be able to host Balticon 54 and at a staff meeting on the morning of 03/18/2020 the general manager told his staff to send us an email explaining that it was unlikely they would be able to host Balticon and to cancel reservations once we confirmed we had told our people. Apparently, the head of reservations did not hear the part about waiting for us to send out notice and took immediate action by using an automated cancellation program.
Cancellations from the reservations department went out several hours before the email to us from the general manager letting us know they could not host Balticon 54 and would not attempt to collect cancellation fees and that they hope to see us next year was sent. A follow up email with apology for sending the cancellations before we told the hotel we had announced the cancellation of Balticon has already been received from the hotel. Given the stress many people are under during this pandemic I hope we can all forgive the hotel reservations department jumping the gun by a day or so.
A message concerning membership refunds (and roll-overs if you want to Balticon 55) and dealers tables refunds etc. with the process to let us know what you want to do will be sent out soon.
(3) THE MAN WHO LEARNS BETTER. “Heinlein’s Juveniles, Pt. 1” is a fine article by
Sourdough Jackson in the latest DASFAx clubzine. Click here –
then scroll down to the March (202003) issue. Starts on page 2.
…When discussing the juveniles, I’ll be taking them two books per column. The first pair are Rocket Ship Galileo(1947) and Space Cadet (1948), both products of a troubled time in the author’s life—a typhoon was blowing his marriage toward the rocks, and the prospects for his writing career weren’t much better. Among his attempts to claw off that marital and literary lee shore was a projected series of books for boys: The Young Atomic Engineers. He thought to begin with a blockbuster—a trip to the Moon.
(4) MONSTROUS DISCOVERIES. [Item by Martin Morse
Wooster.] In the March 16 Financial
Times, Simon Ings reviews “Monsters of The Deep,” a show about
giant aquatic creatures that will be at Britain’s National Maritime Museum
Back in 1893, the biologist Thomas Henry Huxley wrote in The Times: ‘There is not an a priori reason that I know of why snake-bodied reptiles, from fifty feet long and upwards, should not disport themselves to our seas as they did those of the cretaceous epoch, which, geologically speaking, is a mere yesterday.’
Palaentologist Darren Naish, who is lead curator of the Falmouth exhibition,, is willing to entertain Huxley’s theory. “His was the right attitude at the time, because the life of the deep oceans was only just being discovered. (Monsters of the Deep makes much of the ground-breaking research led by HMS Challenger, which between 1872 and 1876 discovered 4,700 species of marine life.) Large fossil dinosaurs and early whales, and amazing gigantic living animals, had been discovered only relatively recently,’ Naish pints out.’The whale shark, the world’s biggest fish, was a mid 19th century discovery.
(5) AGAINST THE LAW. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “Six
Great Novels About Crime That Aren’t Quite Crime Novels” on CrimeReads,
Mat Osman looks at six novels, two of which, China Mieville’s The City &
The City and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, are
Hugo winners. He also writes about Michel Faber’s Under The Skin,
noting the novel is a “very different beast” than the filmed version.
The joy of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is the way it lures you in with the most comforting of literary tropes. It’s a hard-bitten detective story about a boozy, lovelorn policeman with a seemingly unsolvable case. There are hard-drinking cops. There are underworld kingpins. There are unspoken codes of honor. So far, so Raymond Chandler. But under the surface another kind of book is flexing its muscles. It’s a what-if novel in which the post-WWII Jewish homeland is Alaska rather than Israel and the Messiah may (or may not) be on his way. It’s a setting that lets Chabon riff on his favored themes. Tall tales are told, language is toyed with (the Alaskan Jews call themselves The Frozen Chosen) and it builds to a denouement as vast as it is unexpected.
(6) BABY YODA ON THE COVER. That made me 1000% more
interested. On sale May 26 from Titan Comics, Star Wars: The Mandalorian The
Art & Imagery–Collector’s Edition Vol.1.
This deluxe edition collects the stunning artwork from the first four chapters of the Disney+ smash hit, highlighting the characters, creatures, allies, enemies and environments of this all-new Star Wars story.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 19, 1990 — Repo Men premiered. It was directed by Miguel Sapochnik. It starred Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber and Alice Braga. It was based on Eric Garcia’s The Repossession Mambo who co-wrote the screenplay with Garrett Lerner. It wasn’t well-received by critics at the time, nor does the audience over at Rotten Tomatoes care for it giving it a 21% rating.
March 19, 1999 — Farscape premiered on Syfy. The series was conceived by Rockne S. O’Bannon and produced by The Jim Henson Company and Hallmark Entertainment. The Jim Henson Company was responsible for the various alien make-up and prosthetics, and two regular characters, Rygel and Pilot were completely Creature Shop creations. Filmed in Australia, it would would last for four seasons ending in The Peacekeeper Wars.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 19, 1821 – Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS. He was a geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist when that term wasn’t a curse word, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat. And the translator of an unexpurgated translation of One Thousand and One Nights. Along with Vikram and the Vampire or Tales of Hindu Devilry. Mind you, he was also the publisher of both Kama Sutra and The Perfume Garden. (Died 1890.)
Born March 19, 1919 – Patricia Laffan. She was the alien Nyah in Devil Girl from Mars, a Fifties pulp film which you can see here. (Died 2014.)
Born March 19, 1926 – Joe L. Hensley. He was a First Fandom Dinosaur which is to say he was active in fandom prior to July 4, 1939 and he received the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award. He is also a published genre author with ”And Not Quite Human” in the September 1953 issue of Beyond Fantasy Fiction being his first published work, and The Black Roads being his only genre novel. It does not appear that his genre works are available in digital editions. (Died 2007.)
Born March 19, 1928 – Patrick McGoohan. Creator, along with George Markstein, of The Prisoner series with him playing the main role of Number Six. I’ve watched it at least several times down the years. It never gets any clearer but it’s always interesting and always weird. Other genre credits do not include Danger Man but does comprise a short list of The Phantom where he played The Phantom’s father, Treasure Planet where he voiced Billy Bones and Journey into Darkness where he was The Host. (Died 2009.)
Born March 19, 1936 – Ursula Andress, 84. I’msure I’ve seen all of the original Bond films though I’ll be damned I remember where or when I saw them. Which is my way of leading up to saying that I don’t remember her in her roles as either as Honey Ryder in the very first Bond film, Dr. No, or as as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. Bond girls aren’t that memorable to me it seems. Hmmm… let’s see if she’s done any other genre work… well her first was The Tenth Victim based on Sheckley’s 1953 short story “Seventh Victim”. She also appeared in L’Infermiera, oops wrong genre, The Mountain of the Cannibal God, The Fifth Musketeer, Clash of the Titans where she played of course Aphrodite, on the Manimal series, The Love Boat series and the two Fantaghirò films.
Born March 19, 1945 – Jim Turner. Turner was editor for Arkham House after the death of August Derleth, founder of that press. After leaving Arkham House for reasons that are not at all clear, he founded Golden Gryphon Press which published really lovely books until it went out of existence. Too bad their original website doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still view captures at the Wayback Machine. (Died 1999.)
Born March 19, 1955 – Bruce Willis, 65. So do any of the Die Hard franchise count as genre? So even setting them aside, he has a very long genre list, to wit Death Becomes Her (bit of macabre fun), 12 Monkeys (weird shit), The Fifth Element (damn great), Armageddon (eight tentacles down), Looper (most excellent), The Sixth Sense (not at all bad), Sin City (typical Miller overkill) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (yet more Miller overkill).
Born March 19, 1964 – Marjorie Monaghan, 56. JoJo on all six episodes of Space Rangers. My brain keeps insisting it lasted much, much longer. She also was on Babylon 5 as the Mars Resistance leader during the Earth Alliance Civil War, where she was known as Number One. She’s also appeared on Quantum Leap, in the cyberpunk Nemesis film, in The Warlord: Battle for the Galaxy film, on Andromeda series, and on The Great War of Magellan film.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
Bizarro does not have the legend you’re looking for.
As the comics industry reacts to the social isolation response to the coronavirus, Image Comics publisher and CEO Eric Stephenson has released an open letter about what his company — the third-largest publisher in the U.S. market — is doing to lessen pressure on retailers struggling with reduced traffic to stores and enforced closures. He is also asking other publishers to follow suit.
In normal times, comic book stores must estimate how many issues of each comic they will sell, and pay upfront for inventory from publishers. However, as the coronavirus has dramatically shifted how many customers are coming into shops, Stephenson said Image will allow comic book stores to return orders for the next 60 days.
One of the precepts of emergency response is the title of this email: Adapt, improvise, overcome. It’s a phrase that gets mentioned several times in Machine, and I found myself thinking of it last night as I chatted with friends in various corners of the internet about the economic repercussions of the current xombie apocalypse. I see a lot of fear, and a lot of people saying “If we have to do this quarantine bullshit for 18 months the economy will never recover.”
A problem here is that we’ve been taught (by entertainment) to think of massive catastrophes as The End Of The World because that makes a better story. And I don’t want to minimize the grief and suffering that we endure in a catastrophe, be it a hurricane or an earthquake or a war or a pandemic. That is real.
….Like the best crime fiction, Chaykin’s work is well versed in the morally ambiguous protagonist, as opposed to the steel-jawed, superheroic superman.
“My work more often than not betrays that hero with a wound thing, with a protagonist who is far from morally sound—and informs my interest in telling stories without a hero who does the right thing, that right thing as defined by an audience trained to love this romantic vision of the world,” Chaykin said. “And don’t get me started with the “rich guy who had a bad day when he was eight and turns to wage war on crime” model, either.”
It’s been a pretty difficult set of weeks lately. In addition to normal life grinding to a halt, conventions and gatherings have been canceled. Galactic Journey was scheduled to present at a number of venues over the next several months. That’s all fallen by the wayside.
Thanks to the miracle of TELSTAR, SYNCOM, and RELAY, Galactic Journey can still perform for you, coming to you Live, Coast to Coast, in the comfort of your own living rooms!
That’s right — we are reviving Galactic Journey’s “Come Time Travel with Me” show, an hour-long (more or less) trip back in time exactly 55 years.
We’ll be covering science fiction, the Space Race, the recent civil rights march in Alabama, fashion, politics — you name it. And we mean YOU. After our introduction, it’ll be your questions that guide the course of the program. And the best questions will win a prize!
So come join us, March 27, 1965 (2020) at 6PM PDT. All you need is a screen and an hour. We’ll provide the rest.
NASA unsticks its Martian digging probe by whacking it with a shovel.
Every day, the InSight lander’s suite of instruments sends back data proving that the Red Planet isn’t really dead. Marsquakes rumble the seismometer. Swirling vortices register on onboard pressure sensor. And temperature sensors help track the weather and changing of the seasons.
Despite the lander’s successes, however, one gauge has met with resistance from the Martian environment while trying to carry out its mission. Something has stopped InSight’s 15-inch digging probe, dubbed “the mole” for its burrowing prowess. Instead of diving deep into the Martian sand where it could take the planet’s temperature, it’s been stuck half-buried. An intercontinental team of MacGyvers has spent a year devising successively daring plans to get the mole digging again, but still it flounders on the surface. Now their final gambit—directly pushing the mole into the soil—has shown tentative signs of success, NASA announced Friday on Twitter.
The goal of the mole, which is the measurement probe of InSight’s Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (or HP3), is to track the temperature variations of Mars itself. This heat comes from Mars’s core, which, like Earth’s core, remains warm from the planet’s birth. By measuring it, researchers hope to learn about Mars’s formation—but from the rod-shaped mole’s current position they can get readings only of the surface temperature. Mission planners hope to ideally reach 15 feet underground to escape the warming and cooling from the Martian seasons that would interfere with reading the planet’s true temperature.
“I always thought, ‘let’s ask Mark Watney [the fictional protagonist of the book The Martian] to just go over there and just push a little bit on the mole,’” said Tilman Spohn, the HP3’s principle investigator.
But without any Martian explorers to lend a hand, Spohn and his colleagues on the “anomaly response team” have had to improvise with the only tool available—a small shovel-like “scoop” on the end of InSight’s robotic arm. Over the last year they’ve tried to punch down the walls of the hole around the mole, to fill in the hole with nearby sand, and to give the mole more purchase by pinning it against the side of the hole with the scoop. But to no avail.
China’s first journey to Mars is one of the most anticipated space missions of the year. But with parts of the country in some form of lockdown because of the coronavirus, the mission teams have had to find creative ways to continue their work. Researchers involved in the mission remain tight-lipped about its key aspects, but several reports from Chinese state media say that the outbreak will not affect the July launch — the only window for another two years…
On Tuesday, the actor and writer partook in the ancient theatrical tradition that is trying to understand the baffling, inscrutable movie-musical Cats (recently available on digital). Rogen wrote a long Twitter thread about the experience, marveling at the impossibly small cat shoes worn by several characters and wondering what the hell a “Jellicle” is, anyway. (For the record, that made-up word is a play on how posh Brits pronounce “dear little” cats).
In the process, Rogen also tweet-quoted a post from screenwriter Jack Waz, who claimed to know a visual effects artist who had been tapped to work on Cats back in November. That VFX person’s job? “To remove CGI buttholes that had been inserted a few months before,” Waz wrote. “Which means that, somewhere out there, there exists a butthole cut of Cats.”
…With The Rise of Skywalker concluding the iconic Skywalker saga and wrapping up Williams’ time in a galaxy far, far away, J.J. Abrams made sure to put Williams in front of the camera in the film. Williams has a minor Rise of Skywalker cameo, appearing in a seedy establishment on Kijimi as the Resistance heroes make their way to meet Babu Frik. Getting the opportunity to see Williams onscreen was thrilling enough for fans, but the scene also includes several nods to his unparalleled career.
The making-of documentary in the Rise of Skywalker home media release has a segment focused on Williams. In it, Abrams reveals each of the props surrounding Williams represents the 51 Oscar nominations Williams received up to that point. Examples include Indiana Jones’ whip from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the barrels from Jaws, and the iron from Home Alone….
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster,
Michael Toman, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Contrarius, SF
Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]