Under the terms of the settlement
agreements, the hotels waived a total of approximately $150,000 in cancellation
fees and anticipated attrition charges, provided that Arisia makes a residual
$44,486.23 payment by March 15, 2020.
The goal was met with the help of $20,000 in matching funds from anonymous sources.
Fundraising continues —
Thanks to many donations, we have met the need for $40,000 to take care of Arisia’s recent settlement of our Westin and Aloft cancellation fees. We are continuing to raise money to cover previously incurred legal expenses and settlements and to return Arisia to a financially stable position.
… “I’ve seen loads of fan art, which I always love,” she says. “But it’s never been that great for me to immerse myself in noise that you can’t control, good or bad. I think both are a rabbit hole that you shouldn’t necessarily go down. We know that we work really hard for the show to be the best it can be in this moment. Once it’s out in the ether, how people feel, in a way, is kind of irrelevant.”
But Whittaker isn’t going anywhere. The length of time an actor has played the Doctor has varied over the years — back in the ’70s and ’80s, Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor piloted the TARDIS for seven seasons; in the aughts, Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor survived just one. So, will Whittaker return for a third run of shows? “Yes, I’m doing another season,” she confirms. “That might be a massive exclusive that I’m not supposed to say, but it’s unhelpful for me to say [I don’t know] because it would be a massive lie! [Laughs] I absolutely adore it. At some point, these shoes are going to be handed on, but it’s not yet. I’m clinging on tight!”
(2) GUINAN. Patrick Stewart, while appearing on The View,
extended an invitation to host Whoopi Goldberg to appear in Picard’s second
season. See 4-minutue video here.
Stewart said —
“I’m here with a formal invitation, and it’s for you, Whoopi. Alex Kurtzman, who is the senior executive producer of Star Trek: Picard, and all his colleagues, of which I am one, want to invite you into the second season.”
The crowd delivered a standing ovation as Goldberg and Stewart hugged, and Goldberg replied, “Yes, yes, yes!”
“Star Trek: Picard” is beaming to a subway station near you.
For three weeks starting Thursday, when the show premieres on CBS All Access, the series will be promoted on special MetroCards available at six MTA stations in Manhattan.
In the drama, Sir Patrick Stewart, 79, reprises his “Star Trek: The Next Generation” role of Jean-Luc Picard, the retired Starfleet admiral and former captain of the Starship Enterprise who is living out his latter days on his family’s vineyard in France. Fittingly, the subway promotion will showcase two different cards — one featuring Picard on the front and his family’s sweeping vineyard on the back, the other with Picard’s dog, No. 1, on the front and several planets on the flip side.
…At the crux of the Picard premiere is a devastating monologue Stewart delivers recounting a catastrophic event that happened years before, triggering a refugee crisis and driving Picard to quit his position in the Starfleet, disgusted by what the organization and the Federation now stood for.
A supernova blast threatened the planet Romulus. Despite their antagonistic relationship, the Federation agreed to rescue the Romulan people. But in the midst of the rescue mission, synthetic lifeforms like Data, who helped Picard pilot his ship, went rogue and destroyed the Federation’s base on Mars, killing over 90,000 people. In the wake of the incident, synthetic lifeforms were banned, a decision that appalled Picard and caused him to quit before he carried out his Romulan rescue mission.
“It has always been part of the content of Star Trek that it will be attempting to create a better future with the certain belief that a better future is possible if the right kind of work and the right kind of people are engaged in that,” Stewart told reporters. “And my feeling was, as I look all around our world today, there has never been a more important moment when entertainment and show business can address some of the issues that are potentially damaging our world today.”
(5) CLONE WARS TRAILER. The final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars starts streaming Feb. 21 on DisneyPlus.
One of the most critically-acclaimed entries in the Star Wars saga will be returning for its epic conclusion with twelve all-new episodes on Disney+ beginning Friday, February 21. From Dave Filoni, director and executive producer of “The Mandalorian,” the new Clone Wars episodes will continue the storylines introduced in the original series, exploring the events leading up to Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
…The SLS [Space Launch System] is intended to be the primary launch vehicle of NASA’s deep space. By manufacturing as many of the engine’s parts as possible (like the fuel injectors, turbo pumps, valves, and main injectors) with 3D printing, NASA can significantly reduce time and money spent.
“NASA is on track to reduce the number of individual parts by an order of magnitude — from hundreds to tens — and reduce the cost of the entire engine by 30% and later by 50%, and the build time by 50%,” John explains.
Dern notes, “This is the 3rd or 4th NASA-related article I’ve gotten to do over the past six months. I had a lot of fun researching and writing this, and hope find more assignments on this stuff over the coming year.”
Beginning in 1932, Conrad H. Ruppert reshaped the world of fan publications with the printing press he bought with money saved by working in his father’s bakery. He printed issues of the most prominent fanzines of the period, including The Time Traveller, Science Fiction Digest, and Charles D. Hornig’s The Fantasy Fan. It’s not unreasonable to assert that the professional appearance of Hornig’s leaflet-sized ‘zine contributed to his ascension to the editorship of Wonder Stories at the age of 17….
Tim Heiderich of Have You Seen This took the time to talk to us about the creative perils of fandom. Fandom can be fun, but it can also turn ugly too, or it can keep us so busy focusing on someone else’s work that we fail to develop our own talents.
This was a huge conversation, so we split it into two parts. In the first installment, we talk about toxic fandom, simulacra, and the siren song of nostalgia.
…Lowrey has been attending these conventions since 1975 and loves it. He said he loves how the conventions are filled with interesting, intelligent people. The interaction of science fiction fans overseas is awesome as well he said. “I got people I consider good friends that I never met before,” he said. He actually met the woman whom he would spend his life with and marry, C.K. “Cicatrice” Hinchliffe of Bertram, Iowa, at the local Milwaukee science fiction convention in 1981. Lowrey graduated from Chester County High School in 1971 and earned a magna cum laude degree in history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. In addition to his job with the State of Wisconsin, he’s been working as a writer and editor since 1984. He is also a bookseller, serves as a local president and state executive board member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and acts as a volunteer administrator for Wikipedia. He has had book reviews published and also Dungeon and Dragon articles published in Dragon magazine.
(11) KARLEN OBIT. John Karlen , the actor who played
multiple roles (Willie Loomis, Carl Collins, William H. Loomis, Desmond
Collins, Alex Jenkins and Kendrick Young) on the ABC serial Dark Shadows
died January 22 at the age of 86.
(12) TODAY IN HISTORY.
January 23, 1954 — Killers From Space made it to your local drive-in. It was produced and directed by W. Lee Wilder, brother of Billy Wilder. It has a cast of Peter Graves, Barbara Bestar and James Seay. We should note that Killers From Space came about as a commissioned screenplay from Wilder’s son Myles Wilder and their regular collaborator William Raynor. How was it received? Not well. There was, in the opinion of critics, way too much too talk, too little action, poor production values… you get the idea. Though they liked Graves. Who doesn’t? Reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a decidedly unfavourable rating of just 24%.
January 23, 1974 — The Questor Tapes first aired on NBC. Created and written by Roddenberry himself with Gene L Coon as co-writer, it was by Richard Colla. It starred Robert Foxworth, Mike Farrell and John Vernon. (Fontana’s novelisation would be dedicated to Coon who died before it aired.) though it was intended to be a pilot fir a series, conflict between Roddenberry and the network doomed the series. It would place fifth in the final Hugo balloting the following year at Aussiecon One with Young Frankenstein being the Hugo winner.
January 23, 1985 — The Rankin-Bass version of ThunderCats premiered in syndication. Leonard Starr was the primary writer with the animation contracted to the Japanese studio Pacific Animation Corporation, with Masaki Iizuka as the production manager. It would run for four years and one and thirty episodes. Need we note that a vast media empire of future series, films, comics, t-shirts, statues, action figures and so forth have developed since then?
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 23, 1923 — Walter M. Miller Jr. He’s best remembered for A Canticle for Leibowitz, the only novel he published in his lifetime. Terry Bisson would finish off the completed draft that he left of Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, a sequel of sorts to the first novel. He did a fair amount of short fiction as well. He’s poorly represented both digitally and in the dead tree sense as well beyond A Canticle for Leibowitz. (Died 1996.)
Born January 23, 1932 — Bart LaRue. He was the voice of The Guardian of Forever in the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode of Trek as well as doing voice roles in “Bread and Circuses” (on-screen too) “The Gamesters of Triskelion” as Provider 1 (uncredited) “Patterns of Force” as an Ekosian newscaster (Both voice and on-screen) and “The Savage Curtain” as Yarnek. He did similar work for Time Tunnel, Mission Impossible, Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea, The Andromeda Strain, Wild Wild West, Land of Giants and Lost in Space. (Died 1990.)
Born January 23, 1939 — Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. Greg’s aged eighty one years, and Tim passed in 2006. I’d say best known for their very popular and ubiquitous Lord of the Rings calendar illustrations, also for illustrating comics for Marvel Comics and DC Comics. They also did a lot of genre covers so I went to ISFDB and checked to see if I recognized any. I certainly did. There was Zelazny’s cover of My Name is Legion, Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham and Poul Anderson’s A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows. Nice.
Born January 23, 1942 — Brian Coucher, 78. He appeared in three genre series — first the second actor to portray Travis in Blake’s 7 and also as Borg in the Fourth Doctor story, “The Robots of Death”. Finally genre wise he appeared in a Doctor Who spin-off that I’ve never heard existed, Shakedown: Return of the Sontarans. No Who characters appeared though Sophie Alfred played someone other than Ace here.
Born January 23, 1943 — Gil Gerard, 77. Captain William “Buck” Rogers in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century which I fondly remember as a really a truly great SF series even if it really wasn’t that great. He also shows up in the very short lived E.A.R.T.H. Force as Dr. John Harding, and he’s General Morgenstern in Reptisaurus, a movie title that proves someone had a serious lack of imagination regarding titles that day. In Bone Eater, a monster film that Bruce Boxleitner also shows up in as Sheriff Steve Evans, he plays Big Jim Burns, the Big Bad. Lastly I’d like to note that he got to play Admiral Sheehan in the “Kitumba” episode of fan created Star Trek: New Voyages.
Born January 23, 1950 — Richard Dean Anderson, 70. Unless you count MacGyver as genre which I can say is open to debate, his main and rather enduring SF role was as Jack O’Neill in the many Stargate Universe series. Well Stargate SG-1 really as he only briefly showed up on Stargate Universe and Stargate Atlantis whereas he did one hundred and seventy-three episodes of SG-1. Wow. Now his only other SF role lasted, err, twelve episodes in which he played Enerst Pratt alias Nicodemus Legend in the most excellent Legend co-starring John de Lancie. Yeah, I really liked it. And damn it should’ve caught on.
Born January 23, 1976 — Tiffani Thiessen, 44. Better known by far by me at least her role as Elizabeth Burke on the White Collar series which might be genre adjacent, she did end up in three films of genre interest: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th (a parade of the Friday the 13th films) and Cyborg Soldier. They’re average rating at Rotten Tomatoes among reviewers is fifteen percent in case you were wondering how good they were.
Born January 23, 1973 — Lanei Chapman, 47. She’s most remembered as Lt. Vanessa Damphousse on Space: Above and Beyond, a series that ended well before it should’ve ended. She made her genre debut on Next Gen as Ensign Sariel Rager, a recurring character who was a conn officer.
Born January 23, 1977 — Sonita Henry, 43. Her very first was as President’s Aide on Fifth Element. She was a Kelvin Doctor in the rebooted Star Trek film, and she’s Colonel Meme I the Eleventh Doctor story, “The Time of The Doctor”. Her latest is playing Raika on Krypton.
… In a shocking move, Planters, the Kraft-Heinz-owned snack brand, has killed off its iconic mascot in a teaser for its Big Game spot. Mr. Peanut’s untimely demise began with a Nutmobile crash, followed by falling off a cliff and ending in an explosion.
… And when will the classic mascot be memorialized? During Super Bowl 2020, naturally.
…The loss of Mr. Peanut is a major moment for the brand. Planters first introduced Mr. Peanut to audiences in 1916, meaning that the mascot has been around since the midst of World War I, making him of the longest-standing brand mascots of all time.
The spot, which will air during the third quarter of the Big Game on Feb. 2, was produced by VaynerMedia. Planters also has several promotions and activations to honor Mr. Peanut’s life, including commemorative pins for fans who spot the Nutmobile on the streets and a hashtag, #RIPeanut, for fans to share their sympathies.
India’s space agency has unveiled a robot that will travel to space later this year as part of an unmanned mission
Scientists hope that it will be able to later assist astronauts in a manned space mission called Gaganyaan, which is scheduled for December 2021.
Isro will conduct two unmanned missions – one in December this year and another in June 2021 – before the Gaganyaan mission.
The robot, which has been named Vyom Mitra (which translates from the Sanskrit to friend in space) is designed to perform a number of functions including responding to astronaut’s questions and performing life support operations.
For over a decade, Robert Downey Jr. played MCU pillar Tony Stark, a billionaire superhero who would almost certainly consider Dolittle’s abysmal opening weekend earnings to be little more than pocket change.
Despite opening on a holiday weekend, RDJ’s Dolittle made just $29.5 million over the four-day period, and only an additional $17 million internationally. Dolittle cost a jaw-dropping $175 million to make, so those box office numbers are kind of catastrophic, with Universal expected to lose $100 million on the movie, according to The Wrap. Universal, it should be noted, also took a bath last month when the furry fever dream that is Cats flopped, but at least Cats only cost $90 million to make, so the loss isn’t quite as terrible.
The only slim hope for Dolittle’s prospects is a higher than expected haul in the international markets where it hasn’t opened yet—including China—but maybe don’t hold your breath.
It took the strain of wielding all six Infinity Stones to kill him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so Robert Downey Jr. will probably survive Dolittle’s bomb. Still… yikes.
(22) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Model Citizen” on YouTube, David James Armsby
portrays what seems to be the perfect nuclear family–but why is it controlled
by evil robots?
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge,
Hampus Eckerman, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Contrarius, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Anthony.]
By Daniel Dern: Arisia 2020 was back again
at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel from Friday, January 17 through Monday,
January 20 — and, in the day-and-change I was there, it looked like, as always,
lots of people were having lots of fun. (Including me.)
Before I actually
talk about this year’s con — since I wasn’t there for much of it, and was busy
doing or at sessions for at least one-third of the time I was there — here’s
some general Arisia/con info, for any fan/con newcomers in the audience. Feel
free to read or just skip over the next two subsections.
BACK-STORY — SETTLEMENT COST FUNDRAISER A SUCCESS! “Back again at the
Westin,” because, as some may recall, at the near-last-minute, Arisia 2019 switched to the Boston Park Plaza (where it had been
thirteen times previously). (Here’s backstory if you’re interested.
Good news! The fundraiser to cover settlement costs from this has reached its $40,000 goal
as of Arisia 2020’s final afternoon, well in advance of the March 1 deadline to
According to a tweet from the
con, “We have raised $40.3k as of now. We are still taking donations and will
be posting about stretch goals soon.”
ARISIA? (FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW OR HAVE LOST TRACK). The greater Boston
Area is home to three major annual science fiction & fantasy conventions:
Arisia, in January; Boskone, in March; and ReaderCon, in July.
First held in 1990,
Arisia is, in the con’s own words, “New England’s Largest, Most Diverse Sci-Fi
& Fantasy Convention… Arisia is a convention for fans of science fiction
and fantasy, in all forms of media.”
ARISIA/FIRST CON? READ UP AND LEARN. Many Arisians have
been attending since the con’s founding — but equally, there’s many for whom
this is their first Arisia or even first sf con. (“My First Arisia” badge
ribbons were available. (Probably also “My First Con” ones, but I didn’t notice
any.) These can be helpful conversation starters.
If it’s your first
Arisia — particularly if you haven’t attended any science fiction conventions
before — do your homework/research — ideally, before you register and make any
trip reservations. This can help you maximize your fun, perhaps save some
money, and be aware of Code of Conduct do’s and don’ts.
the basic con description. Does it sound like something you’d enjoy? (And/or
find relevant professionally/business-wise?)
the Code of Conduct (CoC) .
This covers how you can and shouldn’t interact with fellow attendees — and they
with you. Among other reasons, registering for the con includes ticking the box
that says you have read and agreed to the CoC.
or at least skim the Arisia Survival Guide and Packing List — this is a longish
document, and not all will be relevant to you, but it can’t hurt to learn/be
reminded rather than learn the hard way.Also, keep in mind that Boston in
mid-January may be sunny and only mildly chilly — or it may be freezing cold,
with rain or snow — and access to the “T” (MBTA, Boston’s public transit) is an
unshielded block-ish walk over a highway. Bring suitably warm/waterproof outer
garments and footwear.
ARISIA: A CON WITH LOTS
OF CHOICES OF STUFF TO DO. This is true of most
cons (possibly all, but I haven’t been to all cons).
Things to do at Arisia
range from program tracks like interviews, panels, and readings, to gaming —
board, card, LARP (live-action roleplaying) and video;, craft and costuming
workshops, filking, concerts and dances, and anime and videos.
This includes lots of fun stuff for kids of all ages.
Sunday evening, there’s the Masquerade, where you can see a wide
range of costume and performance skills. (If you like looking at costumes and
cosplay, even if you can’t make it to the Masquerade, you’ll see lots of
amazing costumes simply strolling around the con — particularly in the hotel
The Arisia Dealers Room always offers a mix of books, art, garb,
gear, games, and accessories, along with teas, spices, chocolates and other
Arisia has an Art Show — with nearly a hundred artists this year.
And while many of the displayed items are expensive or not-for-sale, there are
always lots of originals and prints available in the $15-$30 range, which make
great souvenirs and gifts!
You can also join the volunteer team — volunteer —
it’s also a great way to meet people and make new friends). According to the
con, “Arisia is a volunteer-run convention, from the bottom all the way up to
the top. With a staff of over 200 people working pre-con and an at-con
volunteer corps of over 500.”
You can donate blood, through the Blood Drive run by the
Heinlein Society. This year’s resulted in at least 73 blood units donated to
Mass General Hospital, and 37 to Children’s Hospital.
And you can simply hang out, to schmooze. Some fans go to little
or no programming, instead chatting with old friends (or meeting new ones).
Like many — but not all — cons, Arisia includes focused areas and tracks for
19-and-unders, including a teen-run Teen Lounge space for ages
13-19, plus childcare tracks for various age groups.
If any of these
apply to or include you, or pre-adults you are responsible for, be sure to read
Arisia’s Family Friendly Guide.
(FINALLY!) Since I was only planning to be at Arisia on Saturday — and had
sessions to do at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., with one panel I wanted to go to in
between — I went in Friday afternoon to pick up my badge and my Press ribbon,
including reading and signing the Photographers Contract.
(There’s a separate contract for commercial photographers,
but that doesn’t apply to what I’m doing.) The Participant Packets (schedule,
“Program Participant” ribbon, “name tent,” helpful info, etc.) weren’t ready
yet, but confirming the location of Program Ops for pickup is the important
piece of this process.
It turns out my Friday badge run was a good idea; on Saturday,
between getting a late-ish start from home, and sundry T hiccups, I got to the
con an hour later than I’d planned… although still with enough time to zoom
through the Dealers Room and the Art Show. And have brief chats with friends.
And I began taking pictures, using a mix of my phone and DSLR
A Few Free Books: There was (only) a short pile on the table just outside the Dealers
Room (on Friday, before the room opened), but I found one to adopt: The
Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois McMaster Bujold’s third book in her Vorkosigan
Saga. While I’ve read some MILSF over the years (here’s a rec for Marko Kloos’
latest, Aftershocks), and was very aware of Bujold and the Miles V books
(hard to miss if you’re looking at the NESFA table at Boskone, for example), I
had for no clear or good reason avoided them. Convenience and price — it was
Having finished the book before the weekend was out (it’s short,
and I had three T trips of reading time, but there was a con to be busy at),
I’ve library-reserved books one, two, and four, for a start. (I’ll interleave
them with Adam Halls’ very non-sf Quiller Cold War spy novels.) Question for fellow Filers: do
books that are on our To-Be-Read list, but, whether as library transients or as
e-books (or both), count in Mount To-Be-Read? Either way, is there a
categorical way to refer to these? Discuss.
My “Program Participant” ribbon was for doing two sessions in
FastTrack: my magic show (with a mixed bag of age-appropriate tricks, props and
jokes), and reading some of my Dern Grim Bedtime Tales (Few Of Which End Well),
which are flash-length. We all had fun, and I got to use some new magic
paraphernalia, including a different type of Chameleon bag, and “jumbo”
versions of the Rising Card deck and Zig-Zag Card. I always have fun.
As you can probably guess from the photos that Mike posted, two
of my favorite to-do’s at Arisia are strolling the Dealers Room — I bought a
dinosaur tie — I’ve already got one, but this has slightly larger-sized dinos —
and admiring hall costumes — and taking pictures of both. It’s also a chance to
bring along my larger cameras and accessories (flash, and bounce card)… and to
practice and improve my skills.
I only had time to get to one program event; unsurprisingly, I
went to “Photographing Respectively,” a panel of five photo pro’s discussing
the various concerns, challenges, and advice for photographing people
out-of-studio — at events and in public. Instructive!
If it hadn’t been on Sunday, I would have gone to the “Fighting
with Swords!” workshop given by Cambridge Historical European Martial Arts
Studies Group. (I did the broadswords one a few years back, either at an Arisia
And that was my Arisia 2020 — shorter than I’d preferred, but I
did everything I needed to (filing this report to OGH is my final deliverable),
so now, I’m looking forward to Boskone, where I’m doing a reading, a panel, a
DragonsLair magic show, and a LEARN MAGIC intro talk (which I first did at
SmofCon, when they created it as a program item, as I learned on arrival). And
no doubt taking more pictures.
[From a press
release.] When Marvels Snapshots begins in March, fans
will get to see Marvel’s greatest characters from the Golden Age to today, in
new legendary tales told through the eyes of ordinary people! As curator of
this landmark series, Kurt Busiek has handpicked the creative teams for each
standalone, double-sized issue and he’s put together an amazing assemblage of
talent to tackle April’s issues focusing on Captain America and the X-Men.
First up, Eisner
nominated writer Mark Russell will revisit Jack Kirby’s classic Madbomb
storyline from his 1970s run on Captain America.
“Some people, when
they call, you gotta pick up the phone. And Kurt Busiek is one of those
people,” says Russell. “I was pretty instantly sold on the project once he
started describing it to me— stories about the human cost of these famous
conflicts in the Marvel Universe. I truly enjoyed working on this with him.”
Known for his work on
books like Second Coming and Wonder Twins, Russell says Marvels Snapshot:
Captain America will focus on “the Madbomb’s impact in the South Bronx, a
community which had already been effectively abandoned by the rest of the
nation, that community’s struggle for survival, and of the search for heroes of
its own.” He will be joined by acclaimed artist Ramón Pérez (All-New Hawkey).
Next, in X-Men: Marvels
Snapshot, readers will see the rise of super heroes from the eyes of a
young orphan named Scott Summers, the boy who would grow up to be Cyclops. The
future X-Men leader couldn’t be in safer hands. Jay Edition, the co-host of the
popular X-Men podcast, Jay and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, makes his Marvel
Comics debut with a tale about one of his favorite characters.
“This is a story
that’s pretty personal to me—because I’m me, and it’s a Cyclops story; but even
more because it’s about the ways that superheroes and the stories around them
can become lifelines. If I’m going to be really sappy about it (which I
absolutely am), I get to give one of my favorite heroes the same kind of
touchstone he’s been to me over the years,” says Edidin. “I’d say it’s a dream
come true, but given that I’m the kind of uptight overachiever who
overidentifies with Scott Summers in the first place, maybe also a bit of an
anxiety dream come true. That said, it’s been a blast to get to sit down and
play in a sandbox I’ve spent years cataloguing and analyzing and
Teaming up with Edidin
will be artist Tom Reilly, a rising star artist known for his recent work on
The world still thought Coriolanus rich, but his only real currency was charm, which he spread liberally as he made his way through the crowd. Faces lit up as he gave friendly hellos to students and teachers alike, asking about family members, dropping compliments here and there. “Your lecture on district retaliation haunts me.” “Love the bangs!” “How did your mother’s back surgery go? Well, tell her she’s my hero.”
(2) HELP NAME THE ROVER. NASA’s Name the Rover contest—for their next Mars
rover—has published its list of nine finalists. Students around the
country sent in over 28,000 essays supporting their suggested names.
Now the public is invited to chime in — “You Can
Help Name the Mars 2020 Rover!” The polls are open for another five
days. Each finalist comes with a
link to the essay describing why the nominators think it should win.
(3) NEW EDITOR. Galaxy’s
Edge publisher, Shahid Mahmud, has
announced Lezli Robyn will take over as editor.
As many of you know, Mike Resnick passed away recently.
He pretty much single handedly created this magazine with the aim to give writers, particularly newer writers, a new venue for their stories. He was known in the industry as someone who loved helping younger aspiring authors and there is a large group of writers out there who proudly call themselves Mike’s Writer Children.
One of his writer children was Lezli Robyn, who also works for me as my assistant publisher. During the last year she also helped Mike with the magazine, particularly as his illness started taking a greater toll on his health.
Lezli is an award-winning writer in her own right and has also collaborated with Mike on a number of stories. She will now be taking over as editor of the magazine. I know Mike was very pleased with that decision…to have someone who was very close to him take over something he put so much of his heart into.
Since the two of them were working together on the magazine for the last few months, the transition should be smooth and we expect issue 43 to be available on time, on March 1, 2020.
(4) GALLERY OF HUGO ELIGIBLE ARTISTS. Rocket Stack Rank has
posted their annual gallery of pro artists who are
eligible for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist. “2020 Professional Artists”.
It has 300+ images from 100+ pro artists whose art was
used for short fiction, magazine covers, and novel covers.
However, there is this note –
Thumbnail images with a highlighted link are professional works done in 2019. Thumbnails without a highlighted link were done earlier (shown in last year’s list), later (show in next year’s list) or fan art (published in a semi-prozine) and included to give more examples of the artist’s style.
(5) STET, I REPEAT, STET. Ursula Vernon fights back against
the Copyedits of Doom. Thread starts here.
It’s fine with me if the thriller pace slows down. I like your meditative stuff. so nice to have you doing real SF again! “Slash is electric once more.”
I love how Netherton is expecting to be in a superhero iron man peripheral, and then it’s squat and small, like part of an oil filled radiator. He’s a good anti hero, and you have fun tormenting him. He still works as a character being sober, still has the same outside attitude. When I had my character Sta-Hi be sober in Realware, some of my older fans were mad about it, grumbled that “Rucker has gone religious, he’s no fun anymore, etc.” But if they’d notice, Sta-Hi stays exactly as crazy as before, as does Netherton.
For me, what took over for Netherton in this book was his co-parenting! My first POV character with a baby to take care of! When I discovered how different that felt to write, I guess I decided to roll with it, getting some perverse satisfaction out of imagining poor fuckers who bought the book in an airport, just before jumping on an 8-hour flight, expecting to get the generic thriller hand-job, and bang, they’re parenting!
(7) VOTING AGAINST THE MUTANT REGISTRATION ACT. The National
of Parliament Hill” spotlights a new Canadian legislator with a link to
Lenore Zann, best known to the SFF community as the voice of Rogue in the classic X-Men cartoon series of the 1990s has a new role: as a legislator in the Canadian parliament. The 61-year-old actress was elected last autumn as part of the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.
“X-Men is a deep show about deep themes that are universal. They’re almost like our Greek gods and goddesses — they’re like mythology for young people,” said Zann. “I sit on a plane watching what people are looking at on their TV screens in front of them. Most of them are watching stuff like that.”
Born in North Wales, Jones read English at Oxford University, where he met his long-term collaborator and friend, Michael Palin. The two would star together in the college’s comedy troupe The Oxford Revue, and after graduation, they appeared in the 1967 TV sketch comedy Twice a Fortnight.
Two years later, they created The Complete and Utter History of Britain, which featured comedy sketches from history as if TV had been around at the time. It was on the show Do Not Adjust Your Set where they would be introduced to fellow comic Eric Idle, who had starred alongside John Cleese and Graham Chapman in productions mounted by the Cambridge University theatrical club the Footlights.
The five — together with Terry Gilliam, whom Cleese had met in New York — would quickly pool their talents for a new show. Monty Python’s Flying Circus was born and ran on the BBC for four seasons between 1969 and 1974, with Jones driving much of the show’s early innovation.
Jones is a noted history buff who has written on Chaucer and hosted a number of documentaries, including one on the Crusades. He directed Life of Brian and Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life; apart from Monty Python he has directed the films Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows and written several children’s books. The son of a bank clerk, he was born in North Wales and attended Oxford University. He and his wife, a biochemist, live in London and have a son and a daughter. Jones regularly appeared nude (playing the organ) in the opening credits of the Monty Python television series; he also played the obscenely fat, vomit-spewing Mr. Creosote in The Meaning of Life.
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
January 22, 2000 — Cleopatra 2525 first aired in syndication. It was created by R.J. Stewart and Robert G. Tapert. Many who aired it do so as part of the Back2Back Action Hour, along with Jack of All Trades. The primary cast of this SF with chicks not wearing much series was Gina Torres of later Firefly fame, Victoria Pratt and Jennifer Sky. (A sexist statement? We think you should take a look at the show.) it would last two seasons and twenty episodes, six episodes longer than Jack of All Trades. (Chicks rule?) it gets a 100% rating by its reviewers at a Rotten Tomatoes though the aggregate critics score is a much lower 40%.
January 22, 1984 — Airwolf would premiere on CBS where it would run for three seasons before ending its run on USA with a fourth season. Airwolf was created by Donald P. Bellisario who was also behind Quantum Leap and Tales of The Golden Monkey, two other SFF series. It starred Jan-Michael Vincent, Jean Bruce Scott. Ernest Borgnine, and Alex Cord. It airs sporadically in syndication and apparently has not developed enough of a following to get a Rotten Tomatoes rating.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born January 22, 1858 — Charles H. M. Kerr. He’s best remembered for illustrating the pulp novels of H. Rider Haggard. Some of his other genre-specific work includes the Andrew Lang-edited The True Story Book, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Wrong Box and Arthur Conan Doyle‘s “The Sign of the Four”. You can see the one of the H. Rider Haggard novels he did here. (Died 1907.)
Born January 22, 1906 — Robert E. Howard. He’s best remembered for his characters Conan the Barbarian and Solomon Kane, less so for Kull, and is widely regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. His Cthulhu mythos stories are quite good. I believe all of these were published in Weird Tales. If you’re interested in reading him on your slate, you’re in luck as all the ebook publishers are deep stockers of him at very reasonable prices. (Died 1936.)
Born January 22, 1925 — Katherine MacLean. She received a Nebula Award for “The Missing Man” novella originally published in Analog, March of 1971. She was a Professional Guest of Honor at the first WisCon. Short fiction was her forte and her two collections, The Diploids and Other Flights of Fancy and The Trouble with You Earth People, are brilliant. I can’t speak to her three novels, all written in the Seventies and now out of print, as I’ve not read them. (Died 2019.)
Born January 22, 1940 — John Hurt. I rarely grieve over the death of one individual but his death really stung. I liked him. It’s rare that someone comes along like Hurt who is both talented and is genuinely good person that’s easy to like. If we count his role as Tom Rawlings in The Ghoul, Hurt had an almost fifty-year span in genre films and series. He next did voice work in Watership Down as General Woundwort and in The Lord of the Rings as the voice of Aragon before appearing as Kane, the first victim, in Alien. Though not genre, I must comment his role as Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man — simply remarkable. He had the lead as Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four and had a cameo as that character in Spaceballs. He narrates Roger Corman’s Frankenstein Unbound and will later be one of two of the narrators of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. That role is simply magnificent. Ok, I’m just at 1994. He’s about to be S.R. Hadden in Contact. Did you remember he played Garrick Ollivander In Harry Potter films? You certainly remember him as Trevor Bruttenholm in the Hellboy films, all four of them in total. He’s in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as Dr. Harold Oxley, one of the few decent things about that film. Series wise, he’s been around. I’ve got him in Spectre, a Roddenberry occult detective pilot that I’ve not seen. On the Merlin live action series, he provides the voice of the Great Dragon. It’s an amazing role for him. And fitting that he’s a dragon, isn’t it? And of course he played The War Doctor. It, despite the brevity of the screen time, was a role that he seemed destined to play. Oh, for an entire series of stories about His Doctor! Big Finish, the audiobook company, had the singular honor of having him flesh out his character in a series of stories that he did with them just before his death. I’ve heard some, they’re quite remarkable. If I’ve missed anything about him that you feel I should’ve touched upon, do tell me. (Died 2017.)
Born January 22, 1959 — Tyrone Power Jr., 61. Yes, son of that actor. He is the fourth actor to bear the name Tyrone Power. If you remember him at all, it’s as Pillsbury, one of the aliens, in the Cocoon films. Other than Soulmates, a horrid sounding sort of personal zombie film, in which he had a role, that’s it for his SFF creds.
Born January 22, 1959 — Linda Blair, 61. Best known for her role as the possessed child, Regan, in The Exorcist. She reprised her role in Exorcist II: The Heretic. (I saw the first, I had no desire to see the second film.) Right after those films she started she started starring in a lot of the really bad horror films. Let’s see… Stranger in Our House, Hell Night (fraternity slasher film), Grotesque, Witchery, Dead Sleep and Scream to name a few of these films. She even starred in Repossessed, a comedy parody of The Exorcist.
Born January 22, 1969 — Olivia d’Abo, 51. She makes the Birthday Honors list for being Amanda Rogers, a female Q, in the “True Q” episode on Next Generation. Setting that gig aside, she’s got a long and extensive SFF series history. Conan the Destroyer, Beyond the Stars, Asterix Conquers America, Tarzan & Jane and Justice League Doom are some of her film work, while her series work includes Fantasy Island, Batman Beyond, Twilight Zone, Eureka and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Born January 22, 1996 — Blanca Blanco, 24. She’s here today because she’s on one of those Trek video fanfics that seem to have proliferated a few years back. This one had her planning on playing someone on Star Trek Equinox: The Night Of Time but the funding never materialized. I’m fascinated by this one as a certain actor was reprising his Gary Mitchell role here. If it was decided that an audio series would be made instead but I can’t find any sign of that being done either. Any of you spotted it?
(11) WHEN THE GALAXY IS OUT OF ORDER YOU CALL… Guardians of
Someone has to guard the galaxy – but who will accept the mission? And will they survive it? See who answers the call in the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1 trailer featuring writer Al Ewing, Editor in Chief CB Cebulski, and Editor Darren Shan!
Cosmic peace is hanging by a thread as the major galactic empires bristle against each other. Amidst the chaos, the Gods of Olympus have returned — harbingers of a new age of war, reborn to burn their mark on the stars themselves! The legendary Star-Lord leads Rocket Raccoon, Nova, Marvel Boy, Phyla-Vell, and Moondragon on a mission to restore order to the stars!
“The galaxy is just one bad day away from complete and total collapse, and that day is here,” teases Shan.
“Guardians of the Galaxy is where the Marvel cosmic universe, as we know it, comes alive. Marvel space is about to come crashing into the Marvel Universe in a big way,” says Ewing.
… Take the recent Star Wars trilogy, whose entire existence is predicated on the revelation that Han, Leia and Luke all had a miserable old time of it after the events of Return of the Jedi. Before, any fan with R2-D2 on their jim-jams could envisage the three of them growing old together, with a grey-muzzled Chewbacca snoozing contentedly by a crackling hearth. The new films suddenly forced them to confront a new reality in which Han and Leia are estranged because their son became a mass-murderer, and a PTSD-ravaged Luke lives a life of solitude on a remote skerry somewhere uncannily reminiscent of Ireland. And what happens next? Oh, they all die. Miserably. Great. Thanks.
More than a century after the RMS Titanic sank to bottom of the sea — and nearly a quarter-century after its memory was dredged up for a Hollywood blockbuster — the U.S. and U.K. have implemented a formal agreement on how to safeguard and manage the ill-fated steamship’s remains.
British Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani confirmed the news Tuesday during a visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the ship was built before setting off from the English port city of Southampton in 1912.
…”This momentous agreement with the United States to preserve the wreck means it will be treated with the sensitivity and respect owed to the final resting place of more than 1,500 lives,” Ghani said in remarks released Tuesday by the Maritime Ministry.
Ghani’s comments cap a long and winding journey for the deal, which representatives from the U.K., the U.S., Canada and France officially agreed to as part of a 2003 treaty. The Agreement Concerning the Shipwrecked Vessel RMS Titanic sought to sort out and regulate public access, artifact conservation and salvage rights within 1 kilometer of the wreck site, situated hundreds of miles off the coast of Canada in the North Atlantic.
But since the countries negotiated the treaty, the document has largely languished. It requires the ratification of at least two of the four countries to enter into force, and while the U.K. quickly ratified the agreement, both Canada and France have yet to do so. The formal approval of the U.S. government looked long in doubt, as well.
It isn’t just languages that are endangered: dozens of alphabets around the world are at risk. And they could have even more to tell us.
On his first two days of school, in a village above the Bangladeshi port of Chittagong, Maung Nyeu was hit with a cane. This was not because he was naughty. It was simply that Nyeu could not understand what the teacher was saying, or what was written in his textbooks. Although 98% of Bangladeshis speak Bengali as a first language, Nyeu grew up with Marma, one of several minority tongues in the region. Written, it is all curls, like messy locks of hair.
Eventually Nyeu managed to escape this cycle of bewilderment and beatings. After learning Bengali at home, he returned to school and went to university. Now he is pursuing a doctorate at Harvard. Yet Nyeu never forgot his early schooldays. He spends much of his time in the hills where he grew up, where he founded Our Golden Hour – a nonprofit fighting to keep Marma and a flurry of other scripts alive.
There are between 6,000 to 7,000 languages in the world. Yet 96% are spoken by just 3% of the global population. And 85% are endangered, like Marma.
Along with the spoken words, something else is also at risk: each language’s individual script. When we talk about “endangered languages”, most of us think of the spoken versions first. But our alphabets can tell us huge amounts about the cultures they came from. Just as impressive is the length people will go to save their scripts – or invent whole new alphabets and spread them to the world.
The UK is going to lead a space mission to get an absolute measurement of the light reflected off Earth’s surface.
The information will be used to calibrate the observations of other satellites, allowing their data to be compared more easily.
Called Truths, the new spacecraft was approved for development by European Space Agency member states in November.
Proponents of the mission expect its data to help reduce the uncertainty in projections of future climate change.
Scientists and engineers met on Tuesday to begin planning the project. Industry representatives from Britain, Switzerland, Greece, the Czech Republic and Romania gathered at Esa’s technical centre in Harwell, Oxfordshire.
Last night, the National Weather Service called for lows in the 30s and 40s with a chance of falling iguanas. Apparently, the lizards can fall into a deeper slumber in the cold, and it is not uncommon for them to tumble from trees. The advice for you is watch your heads, and don’t bug the iguanas after they land. I mean, do you like being bothered when you’re just getting up?
Biologists say invasive green iguanas have been spreading in Florida, and they’re a major nuisance. The state encourages homeowners to kill iguanas on their property.
And for “historical context.” Bob & Ray “The
Komodo Dragon” (Live at Carnegie Hall, 1984)
[Thanks to Olav Rokne, JJ, Cliff Ramshaw, Martin Morse Wooster,
Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew
Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing
editor of the day Rick Moen.]
By Cat Eldridge: On this day in 1960, “The Hitch-Hiker” aired as the sixteenth episode of The Twilight Zone’s first season. It is based on Lucille Fletcher’s “The Hitch-Hiker” radio play. It is frequently listed among the series’ greatest episodes by fans and critics alike.
Its opening narration is:
Her name is Nan Adams. She’s twenty-seven years old. Her occupation: buyer at a New York department store. At present on vacation, driving cross-country to Los Angeles, California from Manhattan…Minor incident on Highway 11 in Pennsylvania. Perhaps, to be filed away under ‘accidents you walk away from.’ But from this moment on, Nan Adams’ companion on a trip to California will be terror. Her route: fear. Her destination: quite unknown.
The primary cast is Inger Stevens as Nan Adams and Leonard Strong as
The Hitch-Hiker with a number of others in supporting roles. In the original
radio play by Fletcher, the character of Nan was a man named Ronald Adams.
Orson Welles would play that character in on The Orson
Welles Show, Philip
Morris Playhouse, Suspense and The Mercury Summer Theater, all of which aired in the early Forties.
Hitch-hikers, of all persuasions, have a long tradition in SFF with one of our
favorite ones being Rose Marshall of the Sparrow Hill Road duology.
By Steve Vertlieb: Gene London was one of the most beloved children’s television hosts in Philadelphia broadcast history. Gene hosted “Cartoon Corners,” and “The Gene London Show” on WCAU TV, the owned and operated CBS affiliate for decades here in the City of Brotherly Love. Born Eugene Norman Yulish on June 9, 1931, this sweet, gentle soul became an integral part of Philadelphia broadcast history, and a pioneer of children’s television, enriching young, impressionable lives and minds with his soft, endearing manner and tender persona. He was, perhaps, as cherished a television personality locally as Mister Rogers was nationally. Gene, however, was ours. He belonged to Philadelphia, and we adored him. Generations of children grew up in the light of his subtle wisdom and infinite compassion.
in 1981, Gene produced and hosted a four-week series at the prestigious
Philadelphia Art Museum on The Parkway, exploring filmdom’s rich cultural
history. Titled “Hollywood Screen Fantasies,” the series entertained
a live audience on four successive Sunday mornings, and presented such
Hollywood luminaries as Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch from The Wizard
of Oz), and acclaimed puppeteer Bill Baird who operated Julie Andrews’
marionettes in The Sound of Music. One of Gene guests during that
cherished series was myself. Gene invited me to appear with him in front of a
live audience to discuss the making and production of the original King Kong.
We appeared on stage together for an hour discussing the ins and outs of the
classic 1933 fantasy classic, and the experience remains one of the happiest
memories of my seventy-four years.
and I remained in touch, ever friends, for nearly forty years. He would
periodically invite me to join him for some new live appearance or project. I
last saw Gene at The Philadelphia Flower Show several years ago when he graced
the halls of the large convention center with his gracious affection and
remembrances. Children of all ages stood in line for hours to say hello to the
little boy who had helped to shape their hearts … for Gene was, in truth, a
little boy himself. He could relate to his many thousands of children because
he was, in his heart, a gentle innocent, a loving, inspired child. Gene never
entirely grew up and it is for this reason that we were so blessed by his
Well, Sweet Prince. You shall remain forever vital, alive, and beloved by all
those whose lives you so wonderfully touched and enriched.
John Hertz: Encouraged
by John Coker, I went to visit Es Cole. I found her in good
spirits. She’s 95.
introduced me to her two dogs, fed ice cream to me and apple slices to them,
and showed me a life-size reproduction of the Rosetta Stone text, Bob Bloch’s
note about her cheesecake in his introduction to Les’ “Tripod” in the August
1957 Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with the
Barry Waldman cover, and Les’ library.
of the shelves you see here are empty
now. The books about the American Civil War, and about Minoans, have
gone to a good home.
I was there she took a phone call. I was eating ice cream, but I
heard her tell someone, firmly but not harshly, “Don’t say he passed
away. My husband died.”
and he co-chaired the 12th World Science Fiction Convention.
Seeing A Wealth of Fable on another shelf, and
turning to the photo of her and Les, I said “That’s how I knew who you were.”
memoir The Second World War,
in hard covers, was on another shelf. I said I’d read it through
four times. She said “That was my war. I was a riveter.”
[From a press
release.] This April, Marvel Zombies are back in a big way when
the corpse of Galactus’ arrives on Earth in Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Leonard
Kirk’s Marvel Zombies: Resurrection. In anticipation for the coming of
this interstellar terror, your favorite heroes have been zombified in a
collection of hauntingly beautiful variant covers! Feast your decaying eyes on
them below and look for these horrors on the cover of our hottest titles this
AVENGERS 33 MARVEL
ZOMBIES VARIANT by RYAN BENJAMIN with colors by DAVID CURIEL
CAPTAIN AMERICA 21
MARVEL ZOMBIES VARIANT by PATCH ZIRCHER with
colors by EDGAR DELGADO
CABLE 2 MARVEL ZOMBIES
VARIANT by DAVID YARDIN with colors by MORRY HOLLOWELL
DAREDEVIL 20 MARVEL
ZOMBIES VARIANT by WILL SLINEY with colors by DAVID CURIEL
DOCTOR DOOM 7 MARVEL
ZOMBIES VARIANT by MIGUEL MERCADO
DR. STRANGE 5 MARVEL
ZOMBIES VARIANT by LUKE ROSS with colors by FRANK D’ARMATA
NEW WARRIORS 1 MARVEL
ZOMBIES VARIANT by DECLAN SHALVEY