Hampus Eckerman says, “Vlad has a hard time deciding what book to sleep on.”
Photos of other felines resting on genre works are welcome. Send to mikeglyer (at) cs (dot) com
Compiled by Carl Slaughter:
More videos follow the jump.
(1) DALEK WITH A COIFFURE. Look familiar? No, it’s not Davy Crockett…
There is currently a “Dalek Trump” bring paraded down Whitehall accompanied by “Secret Service agents”… pic.twitter.com/6aoPfJf59b
— Benjamin Kentish (@BenKentish) July 12, 2018
— Pádraig Belton (@PadraigBelton) July 13, 2018
(2) W76 MEMBER COMMUNICATIONS ASSET. Kevin Roche, Chair of Worldcon 76 in San Jose, announced: “Several members of the convention volunteered to moderate a Worldcon 76 resource sharing/membership transfer group for us on FaceBook. We happily took them up on the offer!”
This is the official page for WorldCon76 attendees seeking to connect with each other in order to transfer memberships and to share resources and information.
(3) SUPER SHRINKAGE. Kinky Data compares “Superheroes’ Height Vs
the Actor’s Actual Height”. (Carl Slaughter wonders, “How exactly did they discover the height of so many comic book superheroes?”)
(4) WITH NO CLINCHES. The author of Archivist Wasp explains it all to you at The Book Smugglers: “Alternatives to Romance: Nicole Kornher-Stace on writing platonic relationships in Archivist Wasp and Latchkey (& a Giveaway)”.
In the three years since Archivist Wasp was published, there’s one thing about it that keeps coming up in reviews and reader comments/questions again and again. Which is fine by me, since I haven’t gotten tired of talking about it yet! (Hilariously, after signing up to write this post, I got put on a Readercon panel on the same topic. They said: Tell us why you should be on this
panel. I said: I never shut up about this topic. Ever. It is the soapbox I will die on. And they gave me the panel! Readercon = BEST CON.)
And so, without further ado! The full, entire, possibly long story of why I write all my close relationships as friendships instead of romances, the pros and cons of same, and how I wish more books/movies/shows/etc would do so. (I do. So much. Universe, take note.)
(5) VALUES. A WisCon panel writeup by KJ – “Creativity and ‘Productivity’: A Panel Report and Meditiation”.
…One of the most interesting things to happen was also one of the first: as the panelists were introducing themselves, the moderator, Rachel Kronick, wondered out loud why, in these situations, we introduce ourselves with our resumes. Whether she’d planned to say it or was struck by inspiration in the moment, it was the perfect thing to get me thinking about how much we in fandom tend to define ourselves by our work, by our accomplishments. An immediate mindset shift, in the moment. I only had one panel after this one, and although I still gave the “resume” introduction, it was definitely in my mind.
One of the first topics for the panelists was the source of productivity as a measure of worth. Capitalism came in for a lot of the blame, of course, but the panelists also brought up Puritanism: if something is fun, it can’t be valuable. It’s the work ethic baked into American society (which I’ve most often heard called the “Protestant work ethic“: a tenant of Calvinism claiming you can tell who will be “saved” by their dedication to hard work and frugal living). When we measure our value by how much we produce, and how much we are paid for that production (whether that be in money, goodwill, or fandom attention), it’s really easy to think of any time not spent “producing” as “wasted.” This is absolutely a trap that I fall into, and although I fight it, I know I don’t succeed very well.
On the flip side, we have fandom as a capitalist activity: measuring your dedication as a fan by how much money you spend on Stuff. Books, movie tickets, video and other media, branded merch, costumes, going to cons… fannishness can get really expensive, and too much gatekeeping goes on around activities that cost money and time. Although this didn’t come up at the panel, as I type up these thoughts now I see a tension between the work ethic that values austerity on one hand, and a culture that demands voracious consumption on the other. This double bind isn’t unique to fandom, of course, but I’ve never really thought to apply it in this context before.
(6) THREATS. CBR.com reports “Vertigo Writer Receives Veiled Death Threats Ahead of SDCC Appearance”.
Comic-Con International in San Diego is a place where fans from all across the world gather to share their love of all things pop-culture, from comic books to movies to video games, etc. However, some fans, sadly, choose to share hate instead, as evidenced by a social media post from Border Town writer Eric M. Esquivel.
“I woke up to death threats (‘We’re not sending I.C.E. to Comic Con, we’re sending exterminators’),” Esquivel’s tweet reads. Even in the face of verbal assault, though, the writer remained positive, instead choosing to focus on the joy of holding the first issue of his and artist Ramon Villalobos’ soon-to-be-released Border Town in his hands….
(7) WE INTERRUPT YOUR FOOTBALL. For this important announcement:
The #WorldCup may not be coming home but the TARDIS is on its way. Tune into the World Cup Final this Sunday or come back here for the exclusive first look of new #DoctorWho and friends. pic.twitter.com/uWMaC7r4sQ
— Doctor Who Official (@bbcdoctorwho) July 13, 2018
Comparable information appears in this brief commercial:
(8) PRISONER COLLECTIBLE. Titan Comics is publishing The Prisoner: Kirby & Kane Artist Edition HC Vol.1 this week, “a hard cover edition of never-seen-before work based on the iconic TV series, created by two legends of comic book art.”
This special oversized collectors edition will contain the entire 17 page Jack Kirby strip, the first six pages of which were inked and lettered by Mike Royer, as well as 18 pages of pencils drawn by artist Gil Kane. In addition to reprinting these rare pages, this collection also features unmissable bonus archive material including facsimiles of the original script as written by Steve Englehart.
This book is part of several releases from Titan to mark the 50th anniversary of The Prisoner – join us in celebrating this cult classic!
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
(11) COMICS SECTION.
(12) WALKING HOUSEPLANT.
— James Vincent (@jjvincent) July 12, 2018
(13) LANGUAGE CREATOR. Lauren Christensen takes you “Inside
J.R.R. Tolkien’s Notebooks, a Glimpse of the Master Philologist at Work”
in her New York Times review.
From Qenya to Gnomish to Sindarin, the “high elven-speech” J. R. R. Tolkien uses amply throughout the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy was the product of almost 40 years of what the English author once referred to as his “secret vice”: glossopoeia, or language creation. As Carl F. Hostetter writes in an essay in Catherine McIlwaine’s “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth,” his was a labor “performed and preserved on thousands of manuscript pages containing Tolkien’s minutely detailed description and unceasing elaboration (and revision) of not just one but rather of a family of invented languages, which can be collectively called the Elvish tongues.”
Although not alone in this practice, Tolkien was the first philologist to establish such a network of evolving dialects that derive from one another “by slowly accumulating changes and divergences in form across time from a common ancestor species.” Tolkien drew this partial table of sound-correspondences among five Elvish languages — Qenya, Telerin, Noldorin, Ilkorin and Danian — around 1940….
(14) LOAD THE CANON. EpicPew gives a Catholic perspective on “Saint Tolkien’:
Why This English Don Is on the Path to Sainthood”.
Evangelizing through beauty
J.R.R. Tolkien, in this writer’s opinion, has one of the best innate grasps of evangelizing through beauty of anyone writing in the 20th century. Why? Because his work is permeated with a Catholic understanding of beauty. That which is beautiful is pleasing to the senses, but doesn’t stop at a surface level, rather acting as an icon that draws you into deeper realities and encounter with the Divine.
The world Tolkien created in Middle Earth is steeped in this beauty and nobility that raises your mind upwards and calls you to higher things. You can’t readhis epic work without feeling stirred to your very bones to live a life of greatness, rather than comfort.
Is it possible that even Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI himself was thinking of the small hobbit Frodo Baggins when he exhorted us that “we are not made for comfort, but for greatness”?
Well, maybe not.
But it certainly applies, and the story is a grace of inspiration and encouragement for those who wish to take the path less traveled and embark on that narrower road which leads to salvation….
…Tolkien’s potential patronage
Who would turn to Tolkien with prayer requests? He’s the potential patron saint of the hopeless, the wanderers, and (of course) romantics.
(15) STRANGE HORIZONS. Charles Payseur’s short fiction reviews resume with: “Quick Sips – Strange Horizons 07/02/2018 & 07/09/2018”.
Two new issues of Strange Horizons means two new pieces of short fiction (one short story, one novelette) and two new poems, all of which look at distance and drive, humans and aliens. For the fiction, there’s not a whole lot to link the pieces together, one of which looks at language and abuse, the other at speed and drive and competition. Similarly, the poem isn’t incredibly similar either, one looking at the inhuman at the end of a long mission, the other at changes in body and relationship while also showing those changes striking toward a more stable truth. What does link everything together, though, is a wonderful and moving style, and a range of speculative visions all reflecting back the ways people are hurt by others, and the way people hurt themselves, all reaching for connection, community, and belonging. To the reviews!
(16) SHADOW SUN SEVEN. Paul Weimer has a “Microreview [book] Shadow Sun Seven by Spencer Ellsworth” posted today at Nerds of a Feather.
The complex tale of Jaqi, reluctant opposition to a Resistance that has in turn just toppled an oppressive human galactic empire, continues in Shadow Sun Seven, sequel to Spencer Ellsworth debut novella A Red Peace. This second novella jumps off not long after the first. It should be said that discussion of this second volume, a short novel, does necessarily spoil the first novella.
That novella, which posited, explored and depicted a wide ranging universe with half-Jorians, lots of biological weapons and creatures that would fit in a Kameron Hurley novel, and a net of complicated characters. By the end of the first novella, Jaqi, Half-Jorian, and Half Human pilot, had managed to spirit away two children from the Resistance that are looking for them at any cost, and had slowly started to learn that she has a destiny and power that she never knew, a destiny and power tied to the original, extinct race of which she is just a hybrid descendant gene engineered cross. Or is she?…
(17) WOMEN OF SFF IN THE SEVENTIES. James Davis Nicoll reaches names beginning with the letter R in “Fighting Erasure: Women SF Writers of the 1970s, Part IX” at Tor.com.
Pamela Sargent first caught my eye with 1976’s Cloned
Lives, which takes a refreshingly mundane look at the lives of the world’s first clones.
Their unusual parentage does not confer on them any particular special abilities like telepathy or telekinesis. Her Venus terraforming epic (Venus of Dreams, Venus of Shadows, and Child of Venus) may have been denied its proper place in the public psyche due to a somewhat troubled publication history; all three are in print and worth consideration. Also of interest is Sargent’s Women of Wonder series (Women of Wonder, More Women of Wonder, and The New Women of Wonder, followed in the 1990s by Women of Wonder: The Classic Years, and Women of Wonder: The Contemporary Years). The difficulty of tracking down the rights at this late date probably precludes reprints, but used copies are easily obtained.
(18) HUGO NOMINEE RANKINGS. Joe Sherry’s series reaches the nonfiction: “Reading the Hugos: Related Work”. Surprisingly, he hasn’t read Ellison, but now he has read the Ellison bio —
A Lit Fuse: Here’s my genre confession: I can’t be sure if I’ve actually read Harlan Ellison before…
Nat Segaloff’s biography is necessarily a slanted one, biased towards Ellison. Segaloff doesn’t hide Ellison’s flaws, but he does minimize them and give them Ellison’s context and Ellison’s shading. As a biography, it’s a fairly well written and comprehensive one. If I were a fan of Ellison, I would probably be thrilled by detail of the man’s life. Also, a
person doesn’t need to be likeable to be interesting or to be worth writing about. This is good, because I’m not sure I would have liked him much. I’m quite sure he wouldn’t have liked me. The problem is that there is a bit of tedium to the writing and the recounting of Ellison’s life. Time will tell if A Lit Fuse turns out to be an important science fiction biography in the long run, but it is certainly a less vital and immediate work on the Hugo ballot.
(19) RETRO FAN HUGO RESOURCE. And when you’re all done with this year’s Hugo reading, you can get started deciding what to nominate for next year’s Retro-Hugos. The Fanac.org site has hundreds of zines already available.
Fan History Spotlight:
Next year’s Retro Hugos will cover 1943, and we’ve been focusing on that year as we put up additional fanzines. We have almost 250 zines from 1943 already online. Remember, before the internet, before inexpensive long distance phone calls, before air travel was common, the world came to your door by the mailbox, twice a day. The byplay, the chatting, the fannish flame wars were all conducted on paper. In 1943, FAPA (aka the Fantasy Amateur Press Association) sent out over 1,200 pages of fannish writing in 4 mailings. We have 1,196 pages of those online for you now. FAPA is a real window on the fannish world of that era, with contributions by all the BNFs of the time, including Ackerman, Ashley, Joquel, Laney, Shaw, Speer, Tucker, Warner, Widner, Wolheim and more. There’s the first publication of Lovecraft’s “Fungi From Yuggoth” Cycle. There’s a “Decimal Classification of Fantastic Fiction” by Sam Russell, and interesting in-context materials and commentary on Degler and the Cosmic Circle controversy. But wait! There’s more. See for yourself at http://www.fanac.org/fanzines/FAPA_Mailings/.
(20) 95 IS THE NEW 79. The Stan Lee hype machine gets back in gear – Syfy
Wire has the story:“Stan Lee in first of new series of videos: ‘I’m back again with new energy'”
In a tweet posted on Thursday, Lee appeared in the first video since POW! Entertainment reasserted control over the creator’s social media channels. He joked about his age (“It’s taken me a while to get used to being 79 years old,” said the 95-year-old Lee) and promised his fans that he’s back.
I’M BACK! – Stan pic.twitter.com/xfk0pA8mBH
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) July 12, 2018
(21) HARLAN STORIES. Ted White’s piece for the Falls Church News-Press,
“Remembering Harlan Ellison and His Place in My Life”, is not exactly a eulogy.
…Proximity to me reinforced in Harlan his need to settle his
debt to me. But Harlan was scuffling as a freelance writer; he had no regular income and coming up with an extra several hundred dollars wasn’t easy for him. But one August evening we went to a party in the Bronx and there encountered Ken, whom Harlan hadn’t seen in nearly five years. Harlan braced him for the money. Ken had effectively stolen the typewriter after all, and clearly owed Harlan, who owed me. Harlan was forceful in his demands, but Ken, still without a real income of his own (later he would edit a movie magazine), gave Harlan no
But he did something else. He told his best friend about Harlan’s demand, and the colorful threats Harlan had made. His best friend told his mother. The mother was a crackpot who routinely complained to the FBI that her son’s antagonists were “Commies.” She called the NYPD and told them Harlan was a heroin dealer.
Ironically, Harlan did not use drugs or intoxicants of any kind, abstaining from both alcohol and caffeine (but he did sometimes smoke cigarettes or a pipe, I think for the image more than any other reason). When we went to jazz clubs together he ordered a glass of orange juice, which he could pass off as a Screwdriver.
When the police arrived at his door, Harlan was flabbergasted at the notion that he was a drug dealer, and freely allowed them to search his small apartment. In his closet, on a high shelf and in a box, they found three things: a small revolver, a set of brass knuckles, and a switchblade. They promptly arrested Harlan for possessing an unlicensed gun. New York City had very tough gun laws….
(22) TIME CAPSULE. Joe Siclari says the 1992 MagiCon time capsule will be opened this year in San Jose.
At closing ceremonies for MagiCon, the 1992 Worldcon, we created a time capsule. It was loaded with convention publications and the like, but at the ceremony something unexpected happened. Folks in the audience wanted to have their part of fandom memorialized in the time capsule, and came forward with all kinds of things to put in it. Well, at this year’s Worldcon, the time capsule will be opened. The contents will be put on exhibit. Has fandom really changed that much? If you are at the con, come and find out. We’ll also have a FANAC table with some interesting materials, so come get your contributor ribbon or sticker, and say hi.
(23) STALKED BY SFWA. Cue the Jaws theme…
Holy crap. The Nebulas were held in Chicago for two years when I lived there. Then I moved to LA and now they are holding the 2019 Nebula 5 minutes from my house.
WHY ARE YOU FOLLOWING ME, @SFWA?
— Wesley Chu (@wes_chu) July 12, 2018
(24) INSTANT MASTERPIECE. Camestros Felapton recently graced the comments section with this example of Bohemian Rhap Music:
Is this more sci-fi?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a pixel
No escape to reality
Open your files
Look up on the web and see…
I’m just a pixel
Not a John Williams symphony
Because I’m easy come, easy go
Scrolling high, scroll low
Any way the pix scrolls
Doesn’t really matter to me, to me
Mamaaa just filmed a cat
Put a phone just near its head
Pushed the shutter, as it fed
Mamaaa, my likes have just begun
But now I’ve gone and thrown them all away
Didn’t mean to make you share
If I don’t tweet this time again tomorrow
Carry on, carry on as if nothing viral matters
Too late, my GIF has gone
Of cat shivers down its spine
Like it’s eating the sublime
I’ve got to mute
Gonna leave social media to face the truth
Mamaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, oooooooh (Anyway the pix scrolls…)
I don’t want these likes
Sometimes wish I’d never posted it at all
[Epic Guitar Solo]
[Sudden change of tempo]
I made an animated GIF of a dog
Scary pooch, Scary pooch, will you do the Fandango?
Bad contrast and lighting, very, very frightening me
(Galileo) Galileo (Galileo) Galileo, Galileo is irrelevant
I’m just a pixel nobody loves me
He’s just a pixel from a scroll family
Spare him his life from this GIF travesty
Easy come, easy go, will you post this scroll?
Pixellah! No, we will not post this scroll
(Post this scroll!)
Pixellah! No, we will not post this scroll
(Post this scroll!)
Pixellah! We will not post this scroll
(Post this scroll!)(Will not post this scroll)
(Post this scroll!)(Will not post this scroll)
(Never, never, never, never)
Post this scro-o-o-oll
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh mama mia, mama mia) Mama Mia, ABBA is in this scroll!
The iTunes Store put soundtrack aside for me, for me, for me!
[Heavy rock break]
So you think you can quote me and make fun of my cat?
So you think you can repost that picture of it in a hat?
Oh, baby, can’t do this to me, baby
Just gotta get out, just gotta get right outta here
(Oooh yeah, Oooh yeah)
Nothing viral matters
Anyone can see
Nothing viral matters
Everything viral matters to me
Any way the pix scrolls….
[Thanks to Kathy Sullivan, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, Dann, Mike Kennedy, Kevin Roche, James Davis Nicoll, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
By John Hertz: Guy H. Lillian III has confirmed he’ll be the Official Editor of WOOF this year, hurrah!
WOOF, the World Order Of Faneditors, is an amateur publishing association (or “amateur press association”) whose contributions are collected, and whose distributions are issued, at and from (but not by or for) the World Science Fiction Convention.
The 2018 Worldcon will be 16-20 August at San Jose, California, U.S.A. Some Worldcons have nicknames, but this one, the 76th, is just called Worldcon 76.
An apa is an assemblage of amateurs’ publications. You send copies of yours and get back a distribution containing yours and everybody else’s.
The central receiver-sender of WOOF is the Official Editor.
In the S-F community we borrowed the notion of apas from another hobby, amateur journalism. What seems the first apa was theirs, founded 1876 (NAPA the National Amateur Press Ass’n), still ongoing. The first in the S-F community was FAPA the Fantasy Amateur Press Ass’n, founded 1937, also still ongoing.
Apas come and go, each with its own rules, customs, and jokes. Most apas have been quarterly or monthly. I’m in one that’s weekly. WOOF is yearly, founded 1976 by Bruce Pelz. As Suford Lewis said, he had a fruitful imagination. Some say his epitaph, among us anyhow, should be Si monumentum requiris circumspice. (Latin, “If you seek his monument, look around you.”
The number 76 keeps recurring in this article. I can’t help it. You might have wanted the 2018 distribution to be WOOF Trombone or WOOF Osmium. You could argue that WOOF is brassy (or, I suppose, that I am), or that it slides. You could observe that osmium is the densest naturally-occurring element (or, I suppose, quarrel with “naturally”). However, the 2018 WOOF distribution will be WOOF 43.
Even better! Technetium! Irreproducible results! Nice try.
WOOF 43 should be the 43rd WOOF distribution. Alas, it seems that the last time we tried to comprehend our history, we got it wrong. There has not been a WOOF distribution every year since its beginning. We knew that, but miscounted.
Apas, among us anyway, are part of the world of fanzines. Our fanzines are amateur magazines by and for S-F fans – note that some fans are pros. As Patrick Nielsen Hayden says, and he should know, fanwriting is not a junior varsity for pro writing; they’re different artforms. We started S-F apas to distribute fanzines. After a while apazines took on a life of their own.
The Fanzine Lounge at this year’s Worldcon will be hosted by Craig Glassner. Look for a WOOF drop-off box there after the con opens on Thursday. WOOF will be collated there at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 12th. A Charlie Williams cover is already in the works.
I may have coined the name Fanzine Lounge at the 42nd Worldcon. Or maybe you did.
This year’s copy count for WOOF is 50, i.e. 50 copies required of each contribution. Any extra copies will be for sale, US$3 to contributors (who get one free), US$5 otherwise, proceeds to benefit the international traveling-fan funds TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) and DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund).
If you do not expect to be present at collation, please make your own arrangements. Some long-time WOOFers have seldom been able to attend the con at all, instead sending contributions via friends, providing for return envelopes and postage as needed.
Usually WOOF distributions consist of contributions stapled together, and at least some copies of the distribution are sent by real-mail. Please consider accordingly the media by which and onto which you publish your contribution. Paper of 20 or 24 lb. weight, and 8 1/2 x 11” dimensions or size A4, is preferred.
Various apas have tales of fans’ sending strange paper or even slices of bologna. Some practices are more honored in the breach than in the observance.
The OE this year may be able to print some contributions sent him by E-mail; ask him, ghliii [at] yahoo [dot] com. You may also write to him at 1390 Holly Ave., Merritt Island, FL 32952, U.S.A. You may also mail contributions to Craig Glassner, 750 Linden Ave., San Bruno, CA 94066, U.S.A. You may also write to or call me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A., (213)384-6622 (Pacific Daylight Time).
It may be worth mentioning that from Radio Station WOOF, Hoople, Southern North Dakota, Peter Schickele while ignorant of WOOF the apa so far as I know has broadcast music of the composer he discovered to the world, P.D.Q. Bach.
I knew Bruce Pelz, and have been associated awhile with this WOOF, but it would take a less trepid fan than I (I am not, however, a tepid fan) to venture whether it, younger than Schickele’s, was named ignorantly of him. Roger Hill’s WOOFzine has long been Report from Hoople. And on that note, which I hope is not flat –
(1) SFPA HANDLES CODE OF CONDUCT ISSUE. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) notified members via Facebook that member Bruce Boston has been suspended for a Code of Conduct violation. SFPA President Bryan Thao Worra wrote:
Following a 7-day review and conferral with the SFPA Executive Committee, SFPA member Bruce Boston has been suspended for six months from commenting on the Facebook Group and Yahoo Groups listserv for violation of the SFPA Code of Conduct, regarding egregious remarks beginning on July 4th, 2018, and a failure to retract those remarks in a timely manner. He remains a member of the SFPA and retains all honors and titles. This suspension remains in effect until December 31st, 2018.
In light of this incident, we wish to share the Code of Conduct, which the Executive Committee created and implemented in July 2017. It was shared on the fora, to which it applies, but was not transmitted to every member and new members may be unaware.
Please click on the blue button below to read the document about our expectations of conduct on our forums, Facebook and Yahoo Groups. The rules as well as the consequences for not following them are detailed therein.
To read the SFPA Code of Conduct, click here. [Dropbox file]
SFPA Grand Master Bruce Boston, in comments on a SFPA Facebook group post about the Rhysling winners, publicly insinuated that 2018 short poem Rhysling winner, Mary Soon Lee, must have been the beneficiary of vote stuffing because in his view her poem was unworthy of the honor. As of this writing, Boston’s and others’ comments are still accessible by nonmembers of the group. Here is a screenshot from near the beginning of the exchange.
(2) W76 BUSINESS MEETING SCHEDULE. On his blog, Kevin Standlee previewed his Worldcon article – “Business Meeting & Site Selection Schedules at Worldcon 76”.
For those of you trying to arrange your schedule for Worldcon 76 around the WSFS Business Meeting and Site Selection (as I am rather forced to do by the nature of running the WSFS division), here’s the current state of our plans. For those of you who are veterans of the process, this may all sound boring, repetitive, and obvious, but based on the questions I’ve fielded, there are members — including people interested in WSFS Business — who do not know this stuff.
Linda Deneroff also has posted the start of the agenda for Worldcon 76. You can find it on the Business Meeting page. Click on the “Agenda” link.
(3) ROBOT HOTEL. Grant Imahara (perhaps best know for his former gig on Mythbusters) visits a robot hotel in this Popular Science article (“Mouser Electronics: Generation Robot”). No, not a hotel for robots, but one staffed by robots. It sounds like Henn Na Hotel is trying to avoid — at least in part — the Uncanny Valley. Quoting the article:
Imagine checking into a hotel and handing your luggage to a bellhop, but not seeing another human besides other guests. That’s the reality at Henn Na Hotel in Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, where robots have taken over. Robot enthusiast Grant Imaharavisits the hotel to see how the hospitality business can succeed without humans.
During his stay, Grant is surprised by the non-humanoid robot he meets at the check-in desk. Maybe he should have known—Henn Na Hotel loosely translates to “strange hotel” in Japanese. Naomi Tomita, the hotel’s Chief Technology Officer, says that using non-humanoid robots can make the interactions less awkward. The hotel encourages guests to chat with the robots while they work. A robot checks Grant’s coat, and a robotic trolley takes his luggage to his hotel room.
(4) MORE FROM BODLEIAN. Nicholas Whyte tweeted an image from the Bodleian’s Tolkien exhibition.
J.R.R. Tolkien's facsimile of the last page of the Book of Mazarbul, submitted to the publisher but sadly not included in The Lord of the Rings , which I saw yesterday in the Bodleian exhibition. pic.twitter.com/Ajy59CieBL
— Nicholas Whyte (@nwbrux) July 12, 2018
(5) MOVIE POSTER AUCTION. Heritage Auctions told subscribers that sf movie posters will be featured in its forthcoming Movie Posters Auction July 28-29 in Dallas. A Star Trek poster by illustrator Bob Peak is expected to compete for top-lot honors.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home by Bob Peak (Paramount, 1987) (est. $40,000-80,000) is the largest and arguably the most detailed of all Star Trek posters designed by Peak. A renowned commercial artist whose greatest acclaim comes from his developments in the design of modern movie posters, Peak’s artwork has appeared on the cover of numerous magazines, including Time, TV Guide and Sports Illustrated . The brilliant color used for the evening sky of San Francisco offers stark contrast to the Klingon Bird of Prey flying just over the Golden Gate Bridge. The 40-by-57-1/2-inch poster is done on illustration board mounted on foamcore, is signed by Peak and comes with a gold frame.
“Bob Peak was a popular and important movie poster artist who produced a number of posters for various Star Trek films, and this is as dramatic as any of them,” Heritage Auctions Vintage Posters Director Grey Smith said. “His subtle portraits of several of the film’s primary characters offer an extraordinary balance to the bold images of the sunset and the Bird of Prey. This poster is a large and striking image that would be a significant addition to any collection.”
Science fiction fans also will be drawn to The War of the Worlds (Paramount, 1953). Half Sheet (22″ X 28″) Style B (est. $20,000-40,000), a rare Style B half sheet that is one of the most iconic and elusive images in the genre. Featuring Martian warship imagery not included in many other posters for the original release of George Pal’s powerful adaptation of H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel.
…Widely considered to be among the greatest film posters of all time, a Things to Come (United Artists, 1936) one sheet (est. $15,000-30,000) was inspired by another science fiction film based on another H.G. Wells-inspired screenplay. The film is based on his 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come and his 1931 non-fiction The Work, Wealth and Happiness of Mankind. Among the always-rare posters for this early sci-fi epic, this one stands out in part because of the 1930s deco-designed version of the future.
(6) RECORD SETTING. Seattle’s Sub Pop Records is taking preorders on Bandcamp for The Rick And Morty Soundtrack, a 26-track collection of music from the animated series on Cartoon Network. Two vinyl LP packages (“Deluxe” and “Loser”) and a digital version are available.
This release is the first official collection of music from Rick and Morty. All formats feature 26 songs, 24 of which are from the first 3 seasons of the show, and 18 of which were composed by Ryan Elder specifically for the show. The album also includes songs by Mazzy Star, Chaos Chaos, Blonde Redhead, and Belly, all of which have been featured in the show, as well as two new tunes from Chad VanGaalen and Clipping inspired by the show. The box set includes a special bonus track on a 7”.
(7) JOHNSON OBIT. Somebody has to think these things up, you know — “Alan Johnson, 81, ‘Springtime for Hitler’ Choreographer, Dies”. Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times:
Alan Johnson, a choreographer renowned for his campy movie collaborations with Mel Brooks on the “Springtime for Hitler” goose-steppers-and-showgirls extravaganza in “The Producers” and the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” tap dance in “Young Frankenstein,” died on Saturday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Mr. Johnson had danced in the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” and begun his career as a choreographer when he started working with Mr. Brooks, whom he had already met through a friend, the lyricist Martin Charnin. Mr. Brooks, best known at the time for his work with Carl Reiner on the “2000 Year Old Man” records, was developing “The Producers,” about a producer who schemes with his accountant to create a certain Broadway flop and steal the money invested in it by unsuspecting old women.
…In his role as producer, Mr. Brooks gave Mr. Johnson the chance to direct two films. The first, “To Be or Not to Be” (1983), was a remake of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1942 comedy with Mr. Brooks and Ms. Bancroft in the roles played in the original by Jack Benny and Carole Lombard. Three years later Mr. Johnson directed “Solarbabies” (1986), a science-fiction story about roller-skating orphans fighting for a solution to a worldwide water shortage. It was widely panned.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
(9) COMICS SECTION.
(10) MOVIE AD ADAPTATIONS. These cat pictures may not display properly here, however, they are certainly worth clicking through to see.
Movie leaflet and Cat pic.twitter.com/sdac6s8Z1D
— ???? (@tatuya01) July 11, 2018
(11) ANCIENT MONUMENT. Science journal Nature covers the “Mystery of buried children at German ‘Stonehenge’”.
Scientists scrutinize monumental complex of ditches and posts built more than 4,000 years ago.
As prehistoric Britons gathered at Stonehenge, people living in what is now Germany were erecting their own grand monument: a complex of nested circular ditches, pits and rows of posts, interspersed with the remains of women and children, who might have been human sacrifices…
(12) GRIST FOR THE MILL. Sean T. Collins argues “The only good online fandom left is Dune” at The Outline.
Beyond that, Dune is not a corporate cash cow, and being a fan doesn’t carry with it that icky feeling you’re doing an unpaid PR internship for Disney or AT&T Time Warner. You’re not being cultivated when you make a Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim Appreciation Thread, the way you are when you do something similar for, like, Harley Quinn or Groot. Nor are you helping billionaires whitewash their crimes if you point out politically positive aspects of the series, like its environmentalism or its bone-deep skepticism of leader cults. People who quite reasonably respond favorably to long-overdue representation of non-white-dudes in movies like The Last Jedi and Black Panther have to grapple with stuff like Marvel teaming up with defense contractors Northrop Grumman, or its CEO Ike Perlmutter being a noted Trump supporter.
(13) WHERE ROCKS WERE BANGED TOGETHER. BBC summarizes an item from Nature: “Earliest evidence of humans outside Africa”.
Scientists say they’ve found the earliest known evidence of a human presence outside Africa.
Stone tools discovered in China suggest primitive humans – or a close relative – were in the region as early as 2.12 million years ago.
They are about 270,000 years older than the previous earliest evidence, which consists of bones and tools from Dmanisi in Georgia.
The research, by a Chinese-British team, appears in the journal Nature.
The stone artefacts were discovered at Shangchen on a plateau in northern China.
(14) HOO-RAY. A Gizmodo writer is overwhelmed: “The World’s First Full-Color, 3D X-rays Are Freaking Me Out”.
A New Zealand company called Mars Bioimaging has developed a new type of medical imaging scanner that works in a similar fashion, but borrows technology developed for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to produce far more detailed results. The Medipix3 chip works similar to the sensor in your digital camera, but it detects and counts the particles hitting each pixel when a shutter opens….
It will be years before the new Spectral CT scanner receives all the clearances and approvals it needs so that it can be used in hospitals and clinics. But it’s well past the research stages at this point, and clinical trials are expected to get underway in New Zealand in the coming months.
So (posits Daniel Dern), it’s no longer too dark inside a dog to read?
(15) ACTION FIGURE REVIVAL. SYFY Wire makes note of several new lines of action figures coming soon from a company known for them in the 70’s and 80’s (“Mego toys is staging a comeback with new line of action figures from DC, Star Trek, and more”). The figures will be exclusive to Target and are being debuted at San Diego Comic-Con. They’ll appear in stores a little later this year.
Quoting the SYFY Wire article:
One of the earliest pioneers in the world of action figures is prepping a nostalgic resurrection, promoting a new line of toys at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con […]
Mego Corp., the company that innovated some of the earliest cross-merchandising action figure toys for cartoon, comics, and pop culture fans throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, is launching a new line of figures based on characters from DC, Star Trek, Firefly, Charmed, The Wizard of Oz, and more […]
Quoting the Target website:
Ready for a blast from the past? Toymaker Mego and industry legend Marty Abrams, co-founder and CEO of Mego Corporation, are recreating the company’s famous action figure line, and Target will be the exclusive retailer. The new line of collectibles hits stores and Target.com July 29, but fans will get a first look next week during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con—one of the largest gatherings of comic, movie and science fiction fans in the world….
Target’s exclusive line of Mego collectibles will be available in stores and online July 29 at prices ranging from $14.99 to $29.99. Check out our full assortment of collectibles at Target stores nationwide and Target.com.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Mark Hepworth, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Cat Eldridge, Rob Thornton, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]
The nominations for the 2018 Emmy Awards were announced July 12. Leading all nominees were Game Of Thrones (22), followed by Saturday Night Live (21) and Westworld (21). The Emmy Awards will be presented on NBC on September 17.
Here are the categories that include nominees of genre interest. (See the full list of nominees here.)
Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Lead Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie
Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special
Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Comedy Series
Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Directing for Drama Series
Outstanding Short Form Variety Series
Outstanding Guest Actor In A Drama Series
Outstanding Guest Actress In A Drama Series
Music Composition for a Limited Series, Movie of Special (Original Dramatic Score)
Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)
Original Theme Music
Outstanding Music Supervision
Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie
Cinematography for a Limited Series or Movie
Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special
Five novels written by writers from the Pacific Northwest are finalists for the 20th annual Endeavour Award. The Award comes with an honorarium of $1,000 and will be announced November 9 at OryCon in Portland, Oregon.
The finalists are:
The Endeavour Award honors a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book, either a novel or a single-author collection, created by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. All entries are read and scored by seven readers randomly selected from a panel of preliminary readers. The five highest scoring books then go to three final
judges, who are all professional writers or editors from outside of the Pacific Northwest.
The judges for the 2018 Award are Elizabeth Bear, James Patrick Kelly, and Christopher Rowe.
AWARD ELIGIBILITY FOR 2019
To be eligible for next year’s Endeavour Award the book — either a novel or a single-author collection of stories — must be either science fiction or fantasy. The majority of the book must have been written, and the book accepted for publication, while the author was living in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, or the Yukon.)
The deadline to enter books published during 2018 is January 31, 2019: This deadline is two weeks earlier than it has been in the past.
Full information on entering the Award is available on the Endeavour website. Click on Entry Form in the left-hand column for a fill-in PDF of the form.
The Endeavour Award is sponsored by Oregon Science Fiction Conventions, Inc. (OSFCI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
[Thanks to Jim Fiscus for the story.]
The 2018 James White Award longlist was announced July 6.
The competition is open to original, unpublished short stories of not more than 6,000 words by non-professional writers. The award, established in 2000, offers non-professional writers the opportunity to have their work published in Interzone, the UK’s leading sf magazine. In addition, this year’s prize is £200.
The competition received 312 valid entries, and 29 stories made it to the second stage of judging. Because the stories are judged anonymously, only the titles have been released:
The judges for the final stage of the competition will be announced in weeks to come. The winning story is scheduled to be chosen by the end of July
Compiled by Carl Slaughter:
The most important piece of information in this video is not about Gal Gadot, but about the DC/Marvel rivalry. Turns out DC’s reputation for being dark and serious is deliberate. They have a policy against humor. It’s their way of distinguishing their characters from Marvel’s characters with their inclination toward quips and antics.
In some parallel universe, Warner Bros. decided to carry on Christopher Nolan’s vision of Gotham City after The Dark Knight Rises concluded.
As you may remember, Bruce Wayne faked his death and passed the legacy of the Batman on to Robin John Blake. Of course, there was word on the street that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt was being looked at for the next Caped Crusader at the time, but considering that the studio was all for a team-up with Superman, it’s for the best that the World’s Finest’s first meeting in live action involved Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, not the latter’s successor – who was created for an isolated trilogy.
Still, I find it hard to forget how many mock-ups of Gordon-Levitt as Nightwing were surfacing up until the time Ben Affleck was cast as the new Masked Manhunter in the summer of 2013. In fact, some still hold onto that sentiment, with this fan-made comic strip serving as a fine example of just that….
(1) GWW TEAMS UP WITH WW. ComicsBeat spreads the word: “G. Willow Wilson and Cary Nord Are Your New WONDER WOMAN Creative Team”.
Dan DiDio revealed in the “DC Nation” portion of this week’s DC All Access video that award-winning writer G. Willow Wilson will be the new regular series writer on Wonder Woman. Wilson will team with artist Cary Nord following Steve Orlando’s forthcoming guest-arc. In the video, DiDio says that Wilson will be expanding on the concepts and ideas that initial Rebirth Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka introduced in his year-long run on the series. The creative team’s first story will be titled “The Just War,” and will feature Wonder Woman facing off again with Ares while attempting to rescue a missing Steve Trevor.
On G. Willow Wilson’s site a headline says “The rumors were true”.
“I’m delighted to be writing such an iconic character as Wonder Woman and to be working with DC once again,” said Wilson. “With more than 75 years of history, Wonder Woman has a wealth of backstory and drama to draw from, and I look forward to putting a spin on Diana and her supporting cast that’s both new, yet familiar. It’ll be a challenge to do her justice, but I like a challenge and can’t wait to get started.”
(2) POOH MAP SETS RECORD. CNN has the story — “Winnie-the-Pooh original map illustration sells for record $570,000”.
The original drawing of the map that appears inside the cover of A.A. Milne’s beloved book “Winnie-the-Pooh” sold at a Sotheby’s auction for nearly $600,000 — a record for any book illustration.
The Hundred Acre Wood map is the work of E.H. Shepard, who was asked to illustrate the book in 1926. Sotheby’s valued the map between $130,000 and nearly $200,000 (or between £100,000 and £150,000), according to a news release from May announcing the sale.
The auction house described the drawing, which was unseen for 50 years, as “possibly the most famous map in children’s literature.”
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) July 10, 2018
(3) MOON MISSION. There’s a plan for an “Israeli unmanned spacecraft to land on Moon in 2019” —
An Israeli non-profit organisation has announced plans to send the first privately-funded unmanned spacecraft to the Moon.
SpaceIL said the probe would be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December on a Falcon 9 rocket built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.
It is expected to land on the Moon in February 2019.
The spacecraft will plant an Israeli flag on the Moon’s surface and carry out research into its magnetic field.
SpaceIL’s project began as part of the Google Lunar XPrize, which offered $30m (£23m) in prizes to inspire people to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. However, the competition expired this March, with the $20m grand prize for landing on the Moon unclaimed….
(4) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman takes a page right out of history in Episode 71 of his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Join Arlan Andrews, Sr., Gregory Benford, Geoffrey A. Landis, and Charles Sheffield for lunch in 1993.
Join me for lunch at the World Science Fiction Convention. No, not this year’s San Jose Worldcon, which won’t happen until August. Or even last year’s Worldcon in Helsinki. But the 1993 San Francisco Worldcon!
Here’s how we’re going to do that …
Late last year, I repurposed a Science Forum I’d recorded for Science Fiction Age magazine on March 1, 1994 into Episode 56 of Eating the Fantastic. You got to hear Charles Sheffield and Arlan Andrews, Sr. chatting over lunch at an Italian restaurant about the many ways the world might end. But for this episode, we’ll be going even further back into the past.
On September 1, 1993, I shared lunch during the San Francisco Worldcon with not only Andrews and Sheffield, but Gregory Benford and Geoffrey Landis as well. I thought it would be fun to bring together working scientists to have them discuss over a meal everything wrong (and a few things which might be right) with how their profession is portrayed in science fiction.
I no longer have any idea which convention hotel restaurant we gathered in for our recording session, but we were definitely eating—as you’ll be able to hear for yourself when a sizzling platter of something called a “Laredo” is put in front of us and we worry about whether it’s safe to eat without burning ourselves.
An edited transcript of this conversation was published in the January 1994 issue of Science Fiction Age. So who were this quartet of scientist/science fiction writers when we recorded this Science Forum 25 years ago? Here’s how I described them in that issue—
Gregory Benford is a professor of physics working at the University of California at Irvine, who has also written over a dozen SF novels. Arlan Andrew, Sr. is an executive at a national laboratory, who has worked in the White House Science Office in both the Bush and Clinton administrations. A longtime SF reader, Geoffrey Landis has long looked at the role of the scientist both as an experimentalist and as an SF writer. Charles Sheffield holds a Ph.D in theoretical physics and serves as Chief Scientist for the Earth Satellite Corporation.
And I should add that during my years editing Science Fiction Age magazine from 1992 through 2000, I published short fiction by each of them.
(5) SPEAKER FOR THE FED. In the Washington Post Magazine, Rachel Manteuffel interviews Marc Okrand about how his development of Klingon came about as a consequence of his work on closed captioning — “He invented the Klingon language for ‘Star Trek.’ But how?”.
And how did that happen?
Because I did Vulcan for “Star Trek II.”
And how did that happen?
My real job, the one that really paid the bills, was closed captioning. The first program we did live was the Oscars, 1982. They flew me out to L.A., and I was having lunch with a friend who worked at Paramount. She and I go out to lunch, and the fact that I was a linguist came up — I have a PhD in linguistics. She said: “That’s really interesting. We’ve been talking to linguists. There’s this scene in the movie where Mr. Spock and this female Vulcan character have a conversation. When they filmed it, the actors were speaking English. But in postproduction, everyone thinks it would be better if they were speaking Vulcan.” They wanted a linguist to come and make up gobbledygook that matches the lip movements. And I said, “I can do that!”
(6) DUBIOUS TIE-IN PRODUCT. Vulture says it’s already off the market: “And The Handmaid’s Tale Wine Has Already Been Pulled”.
Look, we all agree, blessed be his fruit, but the newly announced The Handmaid’s Tale wine seemed a little off-brand for a dystopian drama about a totalitarian government forcing women to reproduce against their will. Looks like Lot18 and MGM, the manufacturers of the newly announced themed wines, agreed, removing them for purchase from their website on Tuesday. A representative for Lot18 also confirmed to Vulture the line has been pulled, though the website currently lists the Offred pinot noir as “sold out.” Then again, it also lists the “seductive and appealing” wine, named after Elisabeth Moss’s Handmaid character, as “useless to resist,” so yeah, better to bail out of this whole thing now, and hard.
(7) CONFERENCE QUOTE. Bird is the word.
Yes, it was me who smuggled a large seabird into the plenary and launched it at the speaker's head with the words "Actually this is more of a cormorant than a question." I am to be considered for possible readmission to the society in 2038, which seems fair.
— James Sumner (@JamesBSumner) July 11, 2018
(8) THREADBARE GAUNTLET. Galaxy didn’t measure up to expectations this month says The Traveler at Galactic Journey. This month being one that fell in the middle of 1963…. “[July 10, 1963] (August 1963 Galaxy)”
Speaking of revolutions, every two months, we get to take the pulse of the one started by H.L. Gold, who threw down the gauntlet at the feet of pulp sci-fi in 1950 when he started his scientifiction magazine, Galaxy. It was once a monthly magazine, but since 1959 it has been a half-again-sized bi-monthly. This was a cost-saving measure, as was the reduction of writers’ rates. The latter caused a tangible (if not fatal) drop in quality, and it is my understanding that it either has recently been or will soon be reversed.
Thus, the August 1963 Galaxy is a mixed bag, with standout stories by lesser authors and lesser stories by standout authors….
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
(11) WELLINGTON PARANORMAL. The truth is out there – but there’s small risk these cops will run into it. The New Zealand TV series follows two oblivious cops who work out of the Wellington police station where Sgt Maaka has a secret office he uses to investigate the paranormal —
In this new factual reality *cough* *cough* show, go behind the scenes of New Zealand’s first Paranormal Unit. As we all know, Wellington is a hotbed of supernatural activity… so Officers Minogue and O’Leary, who featured in the vampire documentary What We Do In The Shadows, take to the streets to investigate all manner of paranormal phenomena.
Wellington Paranormal is executive produced by Taika Waititi (Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Thor: Ragnorok) and Jemaine Clement (Flight of The Conchords), two locals who have an interest in exposing what is really going on in the streets of Wellington.
In episode one of the series, Wellington’s Paranormal Unit, fresh off a successful retrieval of 5 pairs of stolen trousers that were taken from Blackfield Menswear, officers are tasked with bringing in Bazu’aal – a body-hopping demon. His name, which translates to ‘He who brings hell on earth’.
Actor Maaka Pohatu has been channelling the spirit of Winston Peters while dealing with paranormal occurrences around Wellington.
Pohatu, who plays the diplomatic Sergeant Ruawai Maaka, is obsessed and a little bit frightened of the spirit world in the new television series Wellington Paranormal. So his bosses encouraged him to look to our (temporary) leader.
“Initially, when I was thinking of building Sergeant Maaka [as a character], I got inspired by Willie Apiata, mainly because I wanted to grow a heavy moustache. But producer Paul [Yates] said no, and so did Jemaine [Clement, who directed the series],” Pohatu says.
(12) HANDMAID. NPR’s Linda Holmes dislikes “The Truck, The Choice And The ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Finale” – beware fullscale spoilers.
This review of the second-season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale discusses in detail what happens in the second-season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The sound of the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale coming to an end was the sound of a balloon, expertly inflated to the point where it seemed about to break, being let go so that it releases its tension in a long, anticlimactic raspberry….
(13) USED BOOK. This one’s older than dirt: “Homer Odyssey: Oldest extract discovered on clay tablet”.
A clay tablet discovered during an archaeological dig may be the oldest written record of Homer’s epic tale, the Odyssey, ever found in Greece, the country’s culture ministry has said.
Found near the ruined Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Olympia, the tablet has been dated to Roman times.
It is engraved with 13 verses from the poem recounting the adventures of the hero Odysseus after the fall of Troy.
(14) BIG DINO. They got their growth even earlier in prehistory than was known before: “Fossil of ‘first giant’ dinosaur discovered in Argentina”.
Analysis: By Dr Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh
Dinosaur fans need to learn a new name, the lessemsaurids, because these were the first dinosaurs to grow to giant sizes of around 10 tonnes, back in the Triassic Period some 215 million years ago. The remarkable discovery of four lessemsaurid skeletons forces us to rethink when, and how, dinosaurs got so huge.
We used to think that the first giant dinosaurs arose in the early part of the Jurassic Period, after supervolcanoes caused a global extinction at the end of the Triassic. But the lessemsaurids tell us that at least some dinosaurs were able to attain giant sizes during the latest part of the Triassic, before the extinction.
(15) SOLID BRASS. BBC recounts “The crypto-currencies that die before they have bloomed”. Fewer than half survive for four months from ICO — just in case there were any Filers who thought the recent e-coin payments for stories idea sounded attractive.
It has been the biggest craze in investment of the last two years – the idea that creating your own crypto-currency through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is the route to riches.
But now an academic study has revealed just how many of these ICOs end up disappearing without trace after a short while.
A Boston College research paper entitled Digital Tulips finds that fewer than half of these projects survive more than 120 days after the completion of their sales of tokens to the public.
The researchers arrived at this conclusion by examining the official Twitter accounts of the crypto-currencies. They found only 44.2% of them were still tweeting after that four-month period and concluded that the rest of the ICOs had died.
(16) THEY’RE PINK. BBC finds another obscure record to report: “World’s ‘oldest coloured molecules’ are bright pink”.
Scientists have discovered what they say are the world’s oldest surviving biological colours, from ancient rocks beneath the Sahara desert.
The 1.1 billion-year-old pigments have a bright pink hue, but range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form.
The pigments are fossilised molecules of chlorophyll produced by sea organisms, Australian scientists said.
Researchers ground shale rocks into powder to extract the pigment.
“Imagine you could find a fossilised dinosaur skin that still has its original colour, green or blue… that is exactly the type of discovery that we’ve made,” Associate Prof Jochen Brocks from the Australian National University (ANU) told the BBC.
[Thanks to JJ, Carl Slaughter, Errolwi, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]