BBC has dropped the Doctor Who “Revolution of the Daleks” teaser trailer for the special airing New Year’s Day 2021.
[Via Krypton Radio.]
BBC has dropped the Doctor Who “Revolution of the Daleks” teaser trailer for the special airing New Year’s Day 2021.
[Via Krypton Radio.]
Brian J. White announced today that Pablo Defendini is resigning from all editorial functions at Fireside Fiction Company (Fireside Magazine and Fireside Books). White, Fireside Fiction’s founding editor and publisher from 2012-2017, is returning as interim editorial director.
The change is being made as Fireside tries to recover from Defendini’s intensely criticized posting of an audio recording of a contributor’s essay by a white narrator in an affected accent, exacerbated by Defendini’s admission that he didn’t listen to it before posting it (see “Fireside Editor Apologizes for ‘Auditory Blackface’ by Narrator of Essay in November Issue”).
White, who remained one-third owner of the company when he stepped down, says:
I will be serving several roles in the capacity of interim editorial director: I will oversee the continuity of publication of Fireside’s contracted stories; lead a review and rework of Fireside’s quality control, production, and approvals process; and lead the search for a new editor-in-chief. While I will be working with the guest editors for each issue, story selection and editing will remain under their control.
Pablo Defendini, the majority owner of Fireside Fiction Company, continues as its Publisher & Art Director. He will not have a role in editorial decision-making, but he will for now remain as art director (magazine layout/design and art), as well as managing the finances and a number of other administrative functions.
White explains the necessity of this:
…The magazine has one other permanent staff member, copyeditor and proofreader Chelle Parker, and otherwise relies on freelance guest editors and artists. Simply put, there is no one in place to hand these many operations over to. If Pablo were to fully resign today, both Fireside Magazine and Fireside Books would fold, and along with them all the stories, essays, and other content in the pipeline, which currently extends deep into 2021. We strongly want to avoid causing that kind of harm to those authors.
To aid the transition, Fireside will postpone the submissions period for the Autumn 2021 issue of Fireside Quarterly, under guest editor Brandon O’Brien.
And they are indefinitely pausing the publication of all audio recordings of stories. Chelle Parker will lead a review of all previously published audio on FiresideFiction.com to look for any other problematic recordings.
White says he will only be acting as editorial director for a matter of months. He is committed to finding a new editor-in-chief who comes from a marginalized background:
I am a cis, straight, white man with some chronic pain disabilities. And I know that long-term, a cis, straight, white man is not what Fireside needs in its leadership roles. I’m taking on this temporary role only because my familiarity with Fireside means I’m well-positioned to do so on short notice and without a need for extensive orientation.
During White’s prevous tenure Fireside published 150 stories, plus longer works, and produced the influential #BlackSpecFic report (2016).
Also today, the Washington Post published its account of the controversy, “Fireside Magazine’s art director Pablo Defendini apologizes for ‘auditory blackface’”. The reporter reached out to the main figures in the story, including narrator Kevin Rineer who makes several mitigating claims for his performance that were not mentioned in his original Twitter or YouTube apologies (which File 770 was able to review in the time they were online before Rineer deleted them.)
Rineer told The Post in a statement that he was unaware he would be reading a Black woman’s work when he auditioned for Fireside Quarterly and that he only received the full manuscript for the work after signing a contract.
Communications lapsed, Rineer said, when he reached out to Fireside and Bradley through a distributor and didn’t get a response. Rineer says he wishes he would have broken the contract rule to contact Bradley directly about her work.
“My normal narrative style is to read with a general West Coast American accent. I made the mistake of reading Dr. Bradley’s work and assuming an accent that was not representative of her voice,” he said. “I had tried to find a different narrator who would be a suitable representative in my network and via public forums, to no avail, in the week-long time frame I had.”
SMOFCon 37¼ reports they are approaching 200 members. Fans are welcome to join up for this one-day virtual event about conrunning, and also encouraged to ask questions of the participating future Worldcon and SMOFcon bids.
SMOFCon 37¼ will be on Saturday, December 5, 2020 from 08:00 to 23:59 Eastern Standard Time (UTC – 5; you can convert to your local time using online tools such as Timeanddate.com).
Membership is free, but you must register in advance here. Most fans should select the regular registration option. The committee asks: Please do not select a Program Participant registration unless you are representing a Worldcon or SMOFCon bid or seated convention or have been invited to be a program participant.
The SMOFCon 37¼ program schedule is here.
The first three program items will be; Question Time for future Worldcon bids, then for the two seated Worldcons, and then for seated and finally bids for future SMOFCons.
The committee has sent questionnaires to all of the groups involved, and received many replies, and encourages fans to peruse and consider these FAQ’s.
They also say:
We note the bidding calendar is busy!
We welcome questions for the bids and if any member wishes to ask a question, we are collating them for the moderators, and have forms linked as follows.
The form for each item is the link next to the words “Submit questions here” in the description of the program item. The deadline for submitting questions is Thursday, December 3, 2020. You must be a member of SMOFCon 37¼ to submit questions. The moderators of each item will select which questions to ask the bids/conventions.
Question Time for Worldcon bids will be taken in reverse chronological order, with bids for 2027 first, then 2026, and so on. Bids for later years will have less allocated time for presentations and questions, with the time increasing per year, ending with bids for 2023. The detailed schedule for each year is in the listing for the item, and includes planned time for internal breaks during the scheduled three-hour item.
The two other scheduled items are a session with CoNZealand chairs Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates discussing aspects of the change to virtual and experience that they had, and a panel looking at the pivot fandom has successfully made to virtual events.
In addition, the Virtual Con Suite has breakout rooms. If you are interested in holding a special-interest group discussion or a meeting in one of the breakout rooms, request a slot using the form linked from the front page of the web site: ReqConSuite
Con Suite breakout sessions will not be listed as separate program items. They are listed in the program listing for the Con Suite.
If you have questions about registering for SMOFCon 37¼, the convention program, or other aspects of the event, write to email@example.com
[Thanks to James Bacon for the press release.]
By John Hertz: The Rotsler Award for 2020 has been given to Alan White of Las Vegas.
The annual Award, begun in 1998 after the death of Bill Rotsler and in his memory, is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community. It is decided by a three-judge panel and carries an honorarium of US$300. Rotsler was, among much else, one of the great fanartists.
Alan White has contributed to these publications since the 1970s – mainly the periodicals by and for fans that fans call fanzines (coined by Russell Chauvenet in the 1940s), also fannish conventions’ fliers, program and souvenir books, and other such companions.
When this drawing
was used to decorate Matters Passed On to This Year’s Business Meeting in the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (“L.A.con II”) Program Book, White was already well known.
appeared earlier in Scientifriction 9 (1977).
As other media became available, he used them. Here is his cover for File 770 138 (2001).
Caricatured at left are (top to bottom) Mike Glyer, Bruce Pelz, Larry Niven.
Here is another drawing of about the same date which appeared some years later – as happens in Fanzineland – in Vanamonde 1403 (weekly; 2020).
Here is an even more elaborate cover for File 770 155 (2009).
Here is a recent image from This Here 35 (2020).
Fanart comes in many forms. Good artists choose what will best suit what they wish to do – line drawings or computer-aided compositions, monochrome or color. White is very good.
The Rotsler Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc., a nonprofit California corporation (yes, that’s what the initials spell, in this case pronounced “skiffy”). The current judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz, and Sue Mason.
A Bradbury roundup to wind up this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
(1) TEN CENTS A DANCE. Input expresses its gratitude: “We have dime-operated rental typewriters to thank for ‘Fahrenheit 451’”.
…DRIVEN BY COST AND CHILDREN — Open Culture has seen fit to remind us all that the classic novel had humble beginnings. Typed on a rental typewriter for $9.80 at a dime per half an hour, the book began as a 25,000-word novella called The Fireman. Over the course of nine days, Bradbury spent 49 hours on this first draft.
His speed was largely driven by the sheer cost (we’re talking mid-century dimes here) and the ticking clock of being a present father. Surely, as more parents have had to attempt working from home while their children are being adorable, you can understand why Bradbury could no longer write from his garage. Unable to afford an office, he turned to rental typewriters in the basement of UCLA’s Powell Library.
(2) MYSTERIOUS RAY. In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Cullen Gallagher is enthusiastic about the Hard Case Crime collection Killer, Come Back To Me, a collection of Bradbury’s crime fiction — “Bradbury Noir: The Crimes of a Science Fiction Master”.
THE SKELETONS IN Ray Bradbury’s closet are out in Killer, Come Back to Me, a career-spanning collection of the science fictioneer’s crime stories. These 300 pages present a new side to readers who only know Bradbury from such classics as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Published by Hard Case Crime on the occasion of the author’s centennial, the selections were picked by Hard Case head honcho Charles Ardai, Michael Congdon (Bradbury’s longtime agent), and Jonathan R. Eller (director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University and author of, among other titles, Becoming Ray Bradbury, Ray Bradbury Unbound, and Bradbury Beyond Apollo). Encompassing everything from the early pulp work on which he cut his teeth to a story published two years before his death in 2012, Killer, Come Back to Me offers the full spectrum of Bradbury’s criminal imagination.
… Bradbury’s life of crime spanned seven decades. Unlike Elmore Leonard and Brian Garfield, who started with Westerns, then moved to mysteries and didn’t look back, Bradbury never left the mystery genre for good. His commitment to both crime and SF recalls the career of Fredric Brown, who, while 14 years older, only entered the pulps shortly before Bradbury did and divided his output between the two genres until his death in 1972. Like Brown, Bradbury’s work displays the influence of Weird Tales and Dime Detective (where both authors published), embedding elements of the bizarre and supernatural in murder mysteries. Among Bradbury’s weirdest stories is a Dime yarn called “Corpse Carnival” (July 1945), which begins with one of two conjoined twins witnessing the murder of the other.
(3) HE WALKS BY NIGHT. Literary Hub considers Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” in “The Dissident Act of Taking a Walk at Night”.
…He is half-consciously creating what Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, in their celebration of the edgelands that characterize the uncertain border between cities and the surrounding countryside, have classified as “desire paths.” These are “lines of footfall worn into the ground” that transform the ordered, centralized spaces of the city into secret pockets; and that, in so doing, offer a “subtle resistance to the dead hand of the planner.”
Once he has decided on a direction, Mead strides off along his desire path, then, at once purposeful and purposeless. “Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and return only at midnight to his house.” Mead has never encountered another living creature on these nighttime walks. Nor has he so much as glimpsed another pedestrian in the daytime, because people travel exclusively by car. “In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not once in all that time” (569).
The proximate reason for the eerie solitude of the city at night is that everyone else has carefully secluded themselves in their living rooms in order to stare blankly and obediently at television screens. The silence of the city is an effect of what Theodor Adorno once called “the unpeaceful spiritual silence of integral administration.” If there is no political curfew in place in Bradbury’s dystopian society, this is because a kind of cultural or moral curfew renders it superfluous.
Crossing and re-crossing the city at night on foot, aimlessly reclaiming the freedom of its streets from automobiles, Bradbury’s Pedestrian is identifiable as the scion of a distinct tradition of urban rebellion or resistance, the dissident tradition of the nightwalker….
(4) OUT ON A LIMB. “The Best History Lesson Ever: Ray Bradbury and ‘The Halloween Tree’” at Bloody Disgusting.
…With the seminal dark fantasy masterpiece Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) and the latter career work A Graveyard for Lunatics: Another Tale of Two Cities (1990) on either side, The Halloween Tree is the middle installment in a loose Halloween trilogy by the author. Though he had written several other pieces dealing with childhood and growing up in a small town, this is his only novel that is aimed directly at children as its primary audience. Be that as it may, it is enchanting for readers of all ages. It is also well worth mentioning that the illustrations by Joseph Mugnaini, a frequent collaborator of Bradbury’s, are astounding.
In 1993, the Hanna-Barbera company produced an animated special based on the novel for the ABC network written and narrated by Bradbury himself with Leonard Nimoy voicing the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud. So often when it comes to books and the movies based on them, one is clearly superior. In this case, both are so wonderful for different reasons that neither feels extraneous. The basics of the plot remain more or less the same in both, but the details and execution in each make both vital. Because they share most of the same plot points, let us explore both at the same time, reveling in the magic of each.
(5) PAST THE APEX. In “Bradbury in the Afternoon” at the Russell Kirk Center website, James E. Person, Jr. does a lengthy review of Jonathan R. Eller’s bio Bradbury: Beyond Apollo.
…By that time Bradbury was a legend: he was hailed and feted by his writing peers and admiring readers of all ages, his name mentioned in the same breath with H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as a writer of astonishingly imaginative science fiction and fantasy. Within the world of literature he knew everybody that was anybody, and his works were well on their way to becoming staples of middle-school and high-school literature courses. So what did the man do for the remaining fifty years of his life? The answer is hinted at in the title of the third and final volume of Jonathan Eller’s masterful Bradbury biography, by the words “Beyond Apollo.”
Why those words? Their significance lies in that from Bradbury’s perspective, the Apollo moon landings—particularly the initial landing in July, 1969—marked the apex of much that the author had dreamed of, the first step in mankind’s outward journey to Mars and beyond. When Neil Armstrong and Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin first set foot on the moon at Tranquility Base, it marked the pinnacle of the U.S. space program’s endeavors at that time. Everything that followed—the subsequent handful of successful moon landings, the space-shuttle initiative, the probes to Mars and beyond, the international space station—were wonderful but somehow a step down. As with Bradbury’s career, there was a sense that there was nothing left to prove. Beyond Apollo, there was a transitional phase of reset and refocus in America’s approach to space exploration and in Bradbury’s career….
(6) HEY, I KNOW THAT GUY. Phil Nichols’s seventeenth episode of his series “Bradbury 100” spotlight’s some events celebrating the milestone birthday. John King Tarpinian restrained his enthusiasm when he sent the link: “Darn it, I am included in this podcast at about 7 minutes in.”
This week’s Bradbury 100 is a bit different: instead of a featured guest interview, I present highlights from two Bradbury Centenary events from recent times, as well as summing up some of the key centenary events of the year so far.
The first of the highlights is a selection from the discussion in the first (and so far, only) Bradbury 100 LIVE episode. This was an event I ran on Facebook Live back in September. In this recording, I talk to John King Tarpinian – a friend of Ray Bradbury’s who often accompanied him to public events – and educator George Jack.
The second is the audio from a public lecture I gave earlier this week, celebrating seventy years of Bradbury’s book The Martian Chronicles.
(7) COVID-19 PUSHES 451 OUT OF THE SYLLABUS. In the Washington Post, Ashley Fetters interviewed teachers about the changes they’ve made as a result of the pandemic. She interviewed Morgan Jackson, a high school English teacher in Philadelphia: “Distance learning is straining parent-teacher relationships”.
…Jackson has made changes to how she teaches. She skipped, for example, a lesson she planned about an overdose scene in Fahrenheit 451. ‘Typically, because Philadelphia is so rife with overdoses and drug issues, I would have had an in-depth discussion and read an article about that. But because it’s such a controversial topic and some parents don’t want their kids knowing about that side of Philly, I kind of cut that out,’ she said. ‘I feel more monitored now than I did when we were in class.’
(8) THAT’S SHAT. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from an article by David Cheal in the November 21 Financial Times about Elton John’s 1972 song “Rocket Man.”
Decades before the opening scenes of Ridley Scott’s film Alien (1979) showed astronauts smoking, chatting, and drinking, before John Carpenter’s 1974 sci-fi classic Dark Star depicted a spaceship’s crew bored and listless, science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury had the prescience to realise that one day going ino space would be just a job. His short story ‘The Rocket Man,’ part of his 1951 collection The Illustrated Man, tells of a man who works in space for three months at a time, coming home to an anxious wife and a curious teenage son. Sniffing his father’s space uniform, the son finds it smells of ‘fire and time.”…
…In 1972 Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s lyric-writing partner, was heading home to see his parents. He had read Bradbury’s story and was musing on it when a lyric popped into his head, about a man preparing to head off to his job in space: ‘She packed my bags last night pre-flight, zero hour 9am… Taupin normally used a notebook to jot down ideas but as he was driving he had to spend the day anxiously memorizing the lines before he could finally commit them to paper. He sent the finished lyric to John (they mostly work separately), who set them to music,'”
Cheal notes that when William Shatner sang his version of “Rocket Man” at the Science Fiction Film Awards ceremony, Ray Bradbury was in the audience as he later gave the prize for best film of the year to Star Wars.
(9) FAN MAIL. Maddy Schierl remembers her response to a life-changing fictional encounter — “Door Reader Series: Fahrenheit 451” in the Door County Pulse.
I was in seventh grade the first time that I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I wasn’t a particular fan of science fiction, nor was I a fan of dystopian fiction. That being said, Fahrenheit 451 didn’t even register as belonging to a genre as I read it.
Bradbury’s language was so rich and real and immediate that I remember being as convinced of the world he built as I was of any “real” setting. I wanted to sink into every sentence. I wanted to wrap myself up in unexpected metaphors and lush allusions. I wanted to be a writer just like Bradbury.
After school the day that I finished reading Fahrenheit 451, I sat down to write Bradbury a letter. In this letter, I tried to express how much his book meant to me. I don’t remember now exactly what I wrote; I’m sure it was clumsy. What I do remember is including a small postscript informing him that I had enclosed an original short story, and would he please respond with any comments he might have.
Then I decorated the envelope with red and orange flames and stuck three stamps in the corner because it was so heavy. (It might have been generous to call my short story short.)
The next day, Ray Bradbury passed away. He was 91 years old, and my letter never got to him. I was devastated. Now, at 21 years old, I often wonder where that letter ended up.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, and Michael J. Walsh for these stories.]
(1) GIBSON TOPS THIS LIST. The Times of London’s Simon Ings picked the five “Best sci-fi books of the year 2020” (behind a paywall). He rates William Gibson’s Agency the best of the year. The other four you’ll have to pay to find out.
Writer Guest Dr. Gregory Benford, our Artist Guest Jeff Sturgeon, and the Fan Guests of Honor Dennis and Kristine Cherry have all agreed to be there and look forward to next year. Hear from them in our deluxe virtual panel space this year, chatting with Loscon 47 chairman Scott Beckstead and Zoom Elf Susan Fox.
(3) BREEZYCON. Likewise, several of the panels from Breezycon, this year’s online replacement for Windycon, can be found at Windycon’s YouTube channel.
They include: Breezycon Opening Remarks, Software for your Home Rapid Prototyping Technology, 3D Printers and Lasers and CNC Mills, Oh My, Before Hastings, The Worldcon is Coming to Chicago, Ray VanTilburg Studio Tour, Characters Motivations in a Post Scarcity World, and Staying Productive as a Writer Through Lockdown (the last “About the experience of being a writer during the pandemic and its effects on one’s process and work” with panelist: Seanan McGuire and moderator: Evan Reeves.)
(4) WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS? This time the author can tell you. “Owl Be Home For Christmas” – Diane Duane had to write it.
Sometimes work and life come at you fast, in tandem.
I was taking a break from work on Tales of the Five 3: The Librarian last week, and (as I do frequently during the day) having a look at Twitter, when something unusual came across my dashboard: this.
So: a status report. I’m well into the body of the story now. My estimate at the moment is that it will run about 20.000 words. (If I need more, I’ll take more: but I refuse to push a story into being longer than it needs to for mere length’s sake.)
My intention is to drop the story on both Amazon and at Ebooks.Direct in the early evening (7PM-ish US/EST) of December 2, 2020, to coincide with the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. I’ll tweet the Amazon and EBD links then, and I’ll add purchase links / widgets on this blog post/page: so you might want to bookmark it. If you’re a Twitter user, you can also keep an eye on the #OwlBeHomeForChristmas hashtag there—I’ll use it to post the occasional update between now and Wednesday.
(5) AN INSIDE LOOK WITH JMS. J. Michael Straczynski has started a series of video commentaries about his Babylon 5 episodes for subscribers to his Patreon at the $10/mo and above level.
So despite my utter horror at the prospect of appearing on-camera, because there’s always someone, somewhere (usually in Bolivia) who points at the image and screams, “That’s him! That’s the guy that did it!”, I’ve begun doing exclusive video reactions/commentaries to Babylon 5 episodes for my Patrons at Starfury level or above.
The first to have gone up is “The Parliament of Dreams,” which — because I’m doing a commentary on the full episode, and can’t put that online, has to be done as a home-sync, meaning viewers cue up the episode at home — has gone over remarkably well.
The plan is to do commentaries that are not on the DVDs, but in some cases there will be the same episodes because time has lent a new perspective to the show as I look back on it. So they will be either new or very different from what came before.
Patrons get to vote on which episode I do next. The current poll is Infection, And the Sky Full of Stars, and Signs and Portents.
Should these continue to go well and not lead to unwanted visitations by Homeland Security, I will likely also start to do some on Sense8 and some of the movies.
(6) FAN FITNESS. “Stroll With the Stars: Home Edition Fall 2020” is another ingenious virtual workaround of a convention tradition.
We been Strolling With the Stars at Worldcon for over a decade now, giving fans a chance to spend some quiet time with their favorite authors, artists and editors, while getting some fresh air.
We still can’t meet in person right now… but we can do what we did in the spring, a daily series of short strolls-at-home here on Facebook Live. Tune in to see what’s up in the lives of some of your favorite sff creators… how they’re dealing with what has sadly become The New Normal.
Join us at 5PM EDT every day, beginning November 27! (Or if you can’t make it live, watch the video right here afterwards.)
(7) PHULISHNESS. ”The Myth and the Phule: Writing with Robert Asprin” – at the Mythaxis Review, Eric Del Carlo recalls the experience of collaborating with a legend.
Everyone in the French Quarter of New Orleans traded in bullshit. Not the tourists. Well, yes the tourists too. But whatever self-aggrandizing malarkey they brought to town was drastically upstaged by their stupidity, usually taking form as epic drinking fails.
But this guy… No. He’d been vouched for. He was who he said he was.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Asprin.” I shook his hand in the Quarter bar. He lived in the Quarter; I did too. Nothing to do at night but hit the bars.
It was a little of that slowed-down awe of a car accident. I had shelved this man’s books in bookstores I’d worked in. Now I was waiting tables in the tourist feeding frenzy of pre-Katrina New Orleans. I also wrote, in his same genres. Science fiction, fantasy. It was all I wanted to do with my life. But you don’t say that, not to a man who didn’t have to trade in the local currency of bullshit to amplify himself, who could just be who he was, indisputably. That I hadn’t read his immensely popular humorous Myth or Phule series didn’t matter. I understood his significance, his stature.
I started calling him Bob because everyone else did. Some Quarter bars were for locals, and my wife and I went to these, and Robert Asprin would be there, inhabiting a stool, dishing out jokes, witty banter, stories. I was most interested in the stories, anecdotes populated by other famous writers in the field. Harry Harrison. Spider Robinson.
It eventually came out to Bob that I wrote, that I had a good number of small press sales under my belt. Well, so what, compared to what he’d accomplished? But he expressed an interest. He himself had been out of the game for some while. Years. Writer’s block, issues with the IRS. Nonetheless we sat side by side at the bar—he with Irish whiskey, rum and Coke for me—and I enthused about the wonder of writing, the pure elation of putting words together….
(8) TWO HUNDED YEARS AGO. The New Yorker launched “A Quest to Discover America’s First Science-Fiction Writer”. Here’s their favorite candidate.
On November 22, 1820, the New York Evening Post ran a perfunctory book ad that was none too particular in its typesetting:
WILEY & HALSTED, No. 3 Wall street, have just received SYMZONIA, or a voyage to the internal world, by capt. Adam Seaborn. Price $1.
As literary landmarks go, it’s not quite Emerson greeting Whitman at the start of a great career. But this humble advert may herald the first American science-fiction novel. Although one might point to the crushingly dull “A Flight to the Moon,” from 1813, that text is more of a philosophical dialogue than a story, and what little story it has proves to be just a dream. “Symzonia; Voyage of Discovery” is boldly and unambiguously sci-fi. The book takes a deeply weird quasi-scientific theory and runs with it—or, more accurately, sails with it, all the way to Antarctica.
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
(11) KEEPING THE BLEEP IN TREK. At “Integrated Outtakes”, they “improve” Star Trek episodes by putting back the mistakes. The link is to a playlist. An example is embedded below.
Sometimes bloopers, when edited back into the finished episodes, can add a bit of humanity to characters. Sometimes they just add a bit of absurdity. Both are good.
(12) UTOPIA CANCELLED. “Amazon’s Utopia Canceled After One Season”. Vulture thinks the show was a little too spot-on.
Between the dark conspiracy theories, violence, global pandemic, and impending apocalypse, it would seem Amazon Prime Video’s Utopia was the wrong show at the exact wrong moment. That, or everyone just had a lot going on this fall. Either way, according to Deadline, the streaming platform has canceled the series, adapted by Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn from the 2013 British series of the same name, after one season. The show premiered on the service on September 25.
(13) YEP, I CLICKED. Jess Nevins shamelessly conflates the ideas of “fandom” and “science fiction fandom” to reassign sf fandom’s origins to the women readers of Wild West pulp magazines. (Thread starts here.) Did Gernsback imitate someone else’s successful magazine marketing idea? That doesn’t mean sf fandom wasn’t started through the efforts of Amazing. Nor should it be overlooked that the idea of “fandom” flows from a whole collection of tributaries (see Teresa Nielsen Hayden, below.)
And Teresa Nielsen Hayden wades right in:
There’s a lot more to learn in TNH’s 2002 post “Lost fandoms” at Making Light.
(14) TITLE BOUT. What won the Diagram Prize? Let The Guardian be the first to tell you: “A Dog Pissing at the Edge of a Path wins oddest book title of the year”.
A Dog Pissing at the Edge of a Path has beaten Introducing the Medieval Ass to win the Diagram prize for oddest book title of the year.
Both books are academic studies, with the winning title by University of Alberta anthropologist Gregory Forth. It sees Forth look at how the Nage, an indigenous people primarily living on the islands of Flores and Timor, understand metaphor, and use their knowledge of animals to shape specific expressions. The title itself is an idiom for someone who begins a task but is then distracted by other matters.
Runner-up Introducing the Medieval Ass, sees the University of Melbourne’s medieval historian Kathryn L Smithies explore “the ass’s enormous socio-economic and cultural significance in the middle ages”. Other contenders included Classical Antiquity in Heavy Metal Music, Lawnmowers: An Illustrated History and The Slaughter of Farmed Animals: Practical Ways of Enhancing Animal Welfare.
… “I thought it would be a closer race, but A Dog Pissing is practically a perfect Venn diagram of an ideal winner,” said Tom Tivnan, the prize coordinator and managing editor of the Bookseller. He said it combined “the three most fecund Diagram prize territories: university presses (a tradition dating back to the first champ, 1978’s University of Tokyo-published Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice); animals (like 2012’s Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop or 2003’s The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories); and bodily functions (such as 2013’s How to Poo on a Date and 2011’s Cooking with Poo).”
Founded by Trevor Bounford and the late Bruce Robertson in 1978 ‘as a way to stave off boredom at the Frankfurt Book Fair,’ the Diagram Prize has had a home at the Bookseller and with legendary diarist Horace Bent since 1982. The winner is decided by a public vote.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Honest Trailers: The Mandalorian” on YouTube, the Screen Junkies note that not only does The Mandalorian have enough comedians in supporting roles to be “the best alternate Saturday Night Live cast ever” but as a bonus you get Werner Herzog playing himself saying, “I see nothing but death and chaos.”
[Thanks to JJ, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Kathryn Sullivan, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Steven H Silver, Danny Sichel, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
Fanzine Activity Achievement (FAAn) Awards Administrator Nic Farey has released the “2021 FAAn Awards Voting and Announcement Ceremony Schedule (Plague Version)” with next year’s plans for fanzine fandom’s own honors.
Typically the awards have been announced after the Sunday banquet at the Corflu convention, which for 2021 was due to be held in March in Bristol, UK. [Corflu Concorde] However, due to we-all-know-what, the convention won’t take place at that time The organizers are committed to an in-person rather than a virtual event, with the exception of the awards announcement (and consideration of future bids for the con).”
Eligible for the awards will be work first published in 2020. Voting is open to anyone with an interest in fanzines.
The timeline will be:
Saturday January 9, 2021
On, or perhaps even a little before this date, The Incompleat Register 2020 will be issued, containing the ballot form and voting instructions, as well as listings of qualifying zines, fanwriters, fanartists, loccers etc known to the administrator. (See below for further explanation.) This marks the start of the official voting period.
Friday March 12 2021 (midnight PST)
Voting ends. Ballots submitted must be received by this point, by whatever means they are sent.
Sunday March 28, 2021 (time TBD)
Awards ceremony, which will occur online (via Zoom or similar means), hosted by Jerry Kaufman, after which the “results issue” of TIR containing full voting numbers will be distributed.
The Incompleat Register. Apart from the official ballot, this is also a voters’ guide listing the fanzines and contributors for 2020 that Nic Farey is aware of, and hence will inevitably be “incompleat”. Voters are in no way restricted to the contents of these lists – all votes received will be taken in good faith.
Ballot categories are: Best Genzine; Best Perzine; Best Special Publication/One-shot; Best Fanwriter; Best Fanartist; Best Letterhack (the Harry Warner Jr. Award); Best Fanzine Cover; Best Fanzine-related Website.
The shortlist for the 2020 Petrona Award for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year was announced November 24.
The Petrona Award is open to crime fiction in translation, either written by a Scandinavian author or set in Scandinavia, and published in the UK in the previous calendar year. The award was established to celebrate the work of Maxine Clarke, one of the first online crime fiction reviewers and bloggers, who died in December 2012. Maxine, whose online persona and blog was called Petrona, was passionate about translated crime fiction but in particular that from the Scandinavian countries.
Normally, the award is handed out at CrimeFest in May, but since the event was cancelled, it will now be awarded in a virtual ceremony on December 3.
The winning author and the translator of the winning title will both receive a cash prize, and the winning author will receive a full pass to and a guaranteed panel at CrimeFest 2022.
[Thanks to Cora Buhlert for the story.]
(1) BABY TALK. If you’re not watching The Mandalorian but still want all the latest spoileriffic information about Baby Yoda, read this episode recap at Variety — “’The Mandalorian’: Ahsoka Tano And Baby Yoda Reveal Their Secrets“. BEWARE SPOILERS. (Was that clear enough?)
“The Mandalorian” teed up the arrival of Ahsoka Tano two episodes ago and judging from the speed and cameo size of the show thus far, viewers would have been forgiven for thinking we might only get a small glimpse of the Jedi this episode. But that thought was immediately sliced in half by two white lightsabers….
(2) PANTS REMOVED. And some Mandalorian news of less import – SYFY Wire says “The Mandalorian has digitally removed the ‘Jeans Guy’ blooper”.
It’s been one week since eagle-eyed viewers discovered an unexpected blooper on The Mandalorian, as a regular-clothed member of the crew was spotted in the background of one of the scenes of the hit Disney+ TV series.
However, despite “Jeans Guy” quickly becoming a bit of an Internet sensation, the production gaffe — which even appeared in production stills for the series — has since been digitally removed from the episode by the streamer and Lucasfilm….
(3) SHE PLAYED HER CARDS RIGHT. The Walter Day Collection presents a Q&A in “Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight – Betsy Wollheim”.
How did you feel when you first started out at DAW?
It was very difficult working in an office between my mother and my father for ten long years. But I stayed because I loved the work and realized that was what I was meant to do.
(4) LASFS. The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society has named Susan Fox as the winner of the Evans-Freehafer Award for club service – specifically, her work this year facilitating the club’s virtual meetings.
(5) FIRE WHEN READY. David Steffen unleashes a formidable idea in “Universal Transitive Headcanon (UTH): A Metafiction Framework Proposal” at Diabolical Plots. (Philip Jose Farmer will be sorry he missed this.)
I would like to propose some terminology for a particular type of headcanon that can be applied across many media, though centered around actor-based media like movies and TV based on actor-transitivity and character-transitivity: the Universal Transitive Headcanon (UTH). This proposal will be the basis of a series of posts that I intend to write analyzing movies, books, comics, and other media through the UTH.
For those who are not familiar with the term, “headcanon” refers to an unofficial interpretation of a work of fiction, which may or may not have any support in the source material, but which are not part of the official canon as defined by the source material.
…The foundational concepts of the Universal Transitive Headcanon are:
(6) BATMAN HISTORY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “How Batman Changed The World” on Screen Rant is a Batman documentary on YouTube that explains how the best Batman stories, including “Batman: The Animated Series” and the films of Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan, have room both for strongly realized Batman characters and strongly realized descriptions of Bruce Wayne. This includes a description of historian Mark Bolderman’s efforts to find Bill Finger’s heirs and get them to successfully sue Warner Brothers for co-creator credit (which first happened on Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.” This dropped today.
(7) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldrdge and John Hertz.]
(9) COMICS SECTION.
(10) LIVE LONG AND OOPS. “B.C.’s ‘nerd’ premier gives Vulcan salute during swearing-in ceremony” – CTV News has the story.
Self-described “nerd” John Horgan flashed a Vulcan salute while being sworn in as B.C.’s 36th premier on Thursday, but said the gesture was purely accidental.
Horgan had his hand raised to recite the oaths of allegiance, office and confidentiality with Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin when his fingers slowly formed the salutation made famous by Leonard Nimoy on “Star Trek.”
While speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Horgan acknowledged making the gesture but suggested he did it subconsciously.
“Quite honestly it wasn’t until after it happened that it was brought to my attention,” Horgan said. “I’m a nerd, I can’t help it. I do that a lot.”
The premier stressed that he meant no disrespect giving the salute during a formal ceremony, and that it wasn’t an intentional “signal to geeks everywhere.”
(11) FIAT LUX SKYWALKER. That Anakin has a great holiday gift idea — the Talking Darth Vader Clapper.
This Darth Vader clapper responds and talks each time you clap your lights on or off. Just clap twice to turn you lights on, and he’ll say “The force is strong with this one”, and clap twice again to turn your lights off, and he’ll respond with “You underestimate the power of the dark side”. Just plug your lamp into the bottom of him, and plug him into any wall outlet.
Okay, this is what everybody I know is getting for Christmas!
(12) UFO AIRBNB. Homes & Property brings word of “Spaceship home for sale: extremely rare Futuro house in New Zealand on the market after being in storage for years”.
… Designed by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen in 1968, the Futoro house is one of only 100 ever built.
…Futuro homes were originally intended to be ski cabins that would be easy to built and heat, with the end result being transportable homes that could be dismantled and reassembled in two days — or even airlifted in one piece if required.
(13) PUPPET TIME CAPSULE. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] “Art Carney Meets Peter And The Wolf with The Bil Baird Marionettes” on YouTube is a show originally broadcast on ABC on November 30, 1958, as a puppet-based musical with music by Sergei Prokofiev and lyrics by Ogden Nash. The video includes 10 minutes of an interview Ed Sullivan did with Walt Disney (and Donald Duck) at the Disney studios in 1953.
(14) VIDEO OF THE DAY. The Russian space agency has produced its version of the idea “Our sky, if some celestial bodies were closer to us”.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Olav Rokne, Kathy Sullivan, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Rich Lynch, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
File 770 today is celebrating one of the Twelve Days of Spider-Man on Titan Comics’ blog tour, featuring art highlights from The Philosophy of Spider-Man, including a page exclusively unveiled here.
Swing into the marvelous mayhem of Spider-Man’s thoughts, wise-cracks, and web-fueled wisdom! A lavish collection of everything that makes Spidey tick.
Is your spider-sense tingling? This wonderful little book reveals all the quirks and quick-wittedness that the scarlet spider revels in and dispels it for your pleasure
How funny is Peter Parker really? How does he cope with J. Jonah Jameson’s incessant barking? Is an upside-down kiss as easy as it looks? All this and more as the mind of the most popular superhero of recent history is unwebbed!
With great power comes a great number of jokes, jibes and jovial wordplay as you delve into some of Spider-Man’s most comedic comic book moments, laudable cover art, and pure Spidey-(non)sense.
The volume follows the success of last year’s The Philosophy Of Deadpool.
Here’s our debut page from the book:
More sample pages follow the jump.Continue reading