…Susan Ellison, 58, a native of the British midlands, was puttering around the hillside house in Sherman Oaks that she had shared for more than three decades with her famous (and pugnacious) 84-year-old writer husband Harlan Ellison, best known for his science fiction. He had dubbed it the Lost Aztek Temple of Mars long before suffering a stroke in 2014 that left him bedridden.
“I’m an insomniac and he was still asleep when I checked in on him early in the morning,” she recalled during a telephone conversation. “Then his therapist came,” and found him unresponsive.
“I thought he’d go kicking and screaming, but he died quietly. And I thought I’d be a lot more prepared,” she continued. Instead, she said, “I essentially shut down. He gave me a terrific life and he loved me completely. But I gave my life to him and now I don’t know who I am anymore. I have to find out.”
The experts say everyone reacts differently to a profound loss….
These days, our world is undergoing a sudden and dramatic transformation. Starting immediately after the War, and accelerating since, many former colonies are becoming free nations, ready to embrace their potential and individuality. As these new countries find their own ways toward futures separate from their former masters, we in the Western world are able to experience life from different perspectives. These perspectives show the exquisite diversity of the human race. We are given the rare privilege to experience perspectives different from our own, perspectives sometimes frightening, sometimes exciting, but always intriguing. In doing so, we provide these nations the ultimate freedom: they can dream big. They can embrace new technologies and different ways of looking at the world. They can shake off the repressive yoke of colonialism and allow themselves to achieve their true potential.
Ten Years to Doomsday, the delightful new novel by the writing team of Chester Anderson and Michael Kurland, is a charming exploration of many of these themes using a mix of farce and drama….
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on.
This series deserves a final season that makes sense.
Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!
Petition author Dylan D. says in an update —
I haven’t heard from anyone HBO-related. I don’t think people can reasonably expect HBO to completely remake the season, or any part of this particular series (keep in mind the prequel spinoffs). It costs a fortune to shoot one episode, and I think most signers understand that. Will HBO lose gobs of money over this? Eh probably not. As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.” And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.
Lego has unveiled a Stranger Things set that literally flips things upside down.
Stranger Things: The Upside Down, based on the Netflix series, is a massive 2,287-brick set where half the set is overturned. The piece consists of the house of the Byers family, played by Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp in the show, on the top side, and the supernatural alien world of the Upside Down version of the house on the bottom, but flipped.
The set is designed to be displayed on either side. It measures over 12 inches (32cm) tall, 17 inches (44cm) wide and 8 inches (21cm) deep. Lego is touting a shared building experience with this one, pointing out that the sections of the house come in 11 bags and that the real world and Upside Down houses can be built concurrently, if that’s your thing.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 17, 1936 — Dennis Hopper. I think his first genre film would be Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort of, an Andy Warhol film. Queen of Blood, a vampire thinly disguised as SF film, was his next genre film. My Science Project was his next outing before he took part in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. And now we get to the Super Mario Bros. where he played King Koopa. What a weird film that was! Of he followed that by being Deacon on Waterworld… And then doing Space Truckers. Ouch. He’s El Niño in The Crow: Wicked Prayer, a film I barely remember. His final role was voicing one of the animated wolves in Alpha and Omega. He was also in Blue Velvet but I’ll be damn if I can figure out how to call that genre. (Died 2010.)
Born May 17, 1946 — F. Paul Wilson, 73. I’ve read, let me check, oh about half I see of the Repairman Jack novels. Anyone finished them off and should I do so? What else by him is worth my time?
Born May 17, 1950 — Mark Leeper, 69. As Mark says on his site, “In and out of science fiction circles Mark and Evelyn Leeper are one of the best known writing couples on the Internet. Mark became an avid science fiction fan at age six with TV’s ‘Commando Cody.’ Both went to the University of Massachusetts in 1968.” And as Bill Higgins says here, their MT VOID fanzine is one of the longest published ones still going.
Born May 17, 1954 — Bryce Zabel, 65. A producer, director and writer. Genre wise, he’s been involved as a producer or director with M.A.N.T.I.S., Dark Skies, Blackbeard, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. Writing wise, he has written for most of these shows plus the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Atlantis: The Lost Empire screenplays.
Born May 17, 1954 — Colin Greenland, 65. His partner is the Susanna Clarke, with whom he has lived since 1996. The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction which was based on his PhD thesis. His most successful fictional work is the Plenty series that starts with Take Back Plenty and continues with Seasons of Plenty, The Plenty Principle and wraps up with Mother of Plenty. In the Eighties and Ninties, he was involved in the editorial work of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction and Interzone.
Born May 17, 1967 — Michael Arnzen, 52. Winner of three Bram Stoker Awards, one for his Grave Markings novel, another for Goreletter and yet another for his poetry collection, Freakcidents. Very impressive indeed. Oh and he’s a SJW.
(7) CALL FOR AUREALIS
AWARDS JUDGES. The appeal begins:
We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2019 Aurealis Awards.
Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).
(8) BOOK TO SCREEN. Jeanne
Gomoll’s Carl Brandon, already
available as a print-on-demand book, now can also be purchased from
Lulu in PDF format.
Terry Carr recounts the invention of an imaginary black science fiction fan named Carl Brandon, one of the field’s most (in)famous hoaxes. In addition to Carl Brandon’s complete history, this volume includes his J.D. Salinger parody, “The Cacher of the Rye;” a more current parody by Carl Brandon 2.0, “The Kvetcher on the Racists;” and an essay by Samuel R. Delany, “Racism and Science Fiction.” To quote Carr: “In the late fifties, several of the fans of the Bay Area…presented fandom with a new fanwriter who was quickly acclaimed as one of the best writers around and who was, not incidentally, the first prominent fan who was black.” Read the book for more of this fascinating tale. All proceeds go to the Carl Brandon Society, which promotes discussions on race at conventions and conferences, and through its support of the Parallax and Kindred literary awards, and the Octavia E. Butler
…In an astonishing, and frankly spooky, turn of events, as night fell, many of those wounded soldiers began to see a strange glow emanating from their wounds. They called it “Angel’s Glow” and it lived up to its nickname. When they were eventually recovered and moved to the field hospital, the soldiers whose wounds had been so blessed ended up recovering better and faster, with cleaner wounds and a better survival rate than the un-glowing. This really would sound downright impossible if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so well documented…
…Further, the author seems invested in telling stories about worlds having to change to survive, a theme that her All the Birds in the Sky used for Earth, as a pair of protagonists tackle the problems of Earth in completely different ways. The City in the Middle of the Night continues that tradition, although the framing and the process is very different. The tone is very much darker than the prior novel, those looking for the breeziness of the first novel are going to have expectations dashed picking up this book
(13) MATERIALS GIRL. HBO
put out an official teaser for its forthcoming original series, His Dark Materials.
Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets Will, a determined and courageous boy. Together, they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living?—?and the dead?—?in their hands.
Frank Babics: Who Can Replace a Man? aka The Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss
Mark Baker: Murder in Little Italy by Victoria Thompson
Brad Bigelow: The Bloater by Rosemary Tonks
Paul Bishop: W. Glenn Duncan 1940-2019
Les Blatt: The Exploits of the Patent Leather Kid by Erle Stanley Gardner
Joachim Boaz: The World Menders by Lloyd Biggle; The Sudden Star by Pamela Sargent; The Lost Face by Josef Nesvadba (translated by Iris Urwin)
John Boston: Amazing Stories: Fact and Science Fiction, June 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
Ben Boulden: Call Me Hazard by “Frank Wynne” (Brian Garfield); Closeup by Len Deighton
Brian Busby: An Army Doctor’s Romance by Grant Allen
Steve Case: The Deep by John Crowley
Ellison Cooper: The Lingala Code by Warren Kiefer
Hector DeJean: The Man in a Cage by (Jack aka) John Holbrook Vance
Martin Edwards: The Name of Annabel Lee by Julian Symons
Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, April 1952
Will Errickson: Finishing Touches by Thomas Tessier
José Ignacio Escribano: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalensen (tranlated by Don Bartlett)
Olman Feelyus: Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Mark Finn: “The God in the Bowl” by Robert E. Howard
Paul Fraser: Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1943, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Grant: The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard; Good Morning, Darkness by Ruth Francisco
Aubrey Hamilton: She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth
Rich Horton: The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackery; Roger Zelazny capsule reviews; Alter S. Reiss stories; The Ghost Brigade and The Lost Colony by John Scalzi
Jerry House: Zane Grey Comics #246, 1949: Thunder Mountainadapted
Kate Jackson: A Knife for Harry Dodds by “George Bellairs” (Harold Blundell); Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
Tracy K: The Iron Gates by Margaret Millar; April reading
Colman Keane: “Sweet Little Hands” by Lawrence Block
George Kelley: The Great SF Stories #9 (1947) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
Joe Kenney: Chase by Norman Daniels
Rob Kitchin: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan; The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
B. V. Lawson: A Bleeding of Innocents by Jo Bannister
Evan Lewis: “Tarzan” aka “Tarzan and the Tarmangani”, a 1940sTarzan comic book prose filler/mailing permit content attributed to Edgar Rice Burroughs, ghostwriter unknown
Steve Lewis: “Child of the Green Light” by Leigh Brackett, Super Science Stories February 1942, edited by Alden H. Norton; Saturday Night Dead by Richard Rosen; “The Eyes of Countess Gerda” by May Edginton, The Story-Teller, December 1911
John F. Norris: The Perfect Alibi by Christopher St. John Sprigg
John O’Neill: Davy by Edgar Pangborn; Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
Matt Paust: The Last Supper by Charles McCarry
James Reasoner: The Land of Mist by “Arthur Quiller” (Kenneth Bulmer)
Gerard Saylor: The Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Jack Seabrook and Peter Enfantino: DC war comics, December 1974 (and the best of 1974)
Steven H Silver: George Scithers (editor of Amra, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov’s SF Adventure Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales)
Victoria Silverwolf: Worlds of Tomorrow, February 1964, edited by Frederik Pohl
Kerrie Smith: Cities of the Sun by David Levien
“TomCat”: The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage by Enid Blyton
David Vineyard: Strip for Murder by Richard S. Prather
Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, John King
Tarpinian, Todd Mason, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
A Worldcon bid for Israel late in the next decade is under consideration, led by Gadi Evron.
During the Dublin Worldcon Staff Meeting earlier this month, fans encouraged Evron to begin an exploratory committee for a prospective Israeli Worldcon bid. The bid was symbolically launched when James Bacon gave Evron 20 Euros for a presupport, followed by Ben Yalow and others.
Evron tells me, “We launched an exploratory committee. I am
still checking fandom’s pulse on the matter. That said, I am fully committed
and we are discussing the late 20s with an eye for 2027.”
(1) FRAZETTA SALE BREAKS
RECORD. Heritage Auctions
reports that Frank Frazetta’s 1969 Egyptian
Queen just sold for $5.4 million during the
ongoing Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction (Chicago; 16–18 May).
This is said to be a world record for comic book art, besting a record also
held by Frazetta for Death Dealer 6 (1990; also sold by Heritage in May 2018) at
a “mere” $1.79 million: “Egyptian Queen by Artist Frank Frazetta Sets $5.4 Million
World Record at Heritage Auctions”
…The winning bidder does not wish to be identified at this time.
The painting has been in the possession of Frazetta’s family ever since it was created 50 years ago, and Thursday was the first time it was made available for private ownership in Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art Auction. In addition to a world record, the painting also set a house record as the most expensive item ever sold by Heritage Auctions, surpassing a luxury Dallas estate, which closed for $4.95 million in 2016.
For a moment I just stared at him, as the man himself flashed me one of his trademark Kodak smiles. With his jet black perfect hair, G.Q. wardrobe, sunglasses and spit-shined boots, he was iceberg smooth. “How you doing over there,” Steranko said in his world’s greatest showman voice. I shyly glanced at him and back at the Chandler cover when I suddenly realized that the picture of that mean streets private dick was actually a self-portrait.
…He’s become a tragicomic figure, a man whose story got away from him creatively and outgrew him culturally at the same time.
Got all that? Good. Now, can we take a minute to give him some damn respect?
If the relentless mediocrity of Game of Thrones’ final season has clarified anything, it’s how desperately this show has always needed Martin’s imagination. (God knows it hasn’t clarified character motives or the workings of fantasy elements or the rate-distance equations for determining travel time over continent-sized landmasses.) Without Martin’s storytelling gifts to guide the series—without his understanding of the characters he created and the world into which he set them loose—Game of Thrones has lost its way, and more than that, it’s lost its way without evidently knowing or caring that it has. The show still looks great, at least when you can see it, and it’s still full of hugely talented actors. Narratively, though, it comes across as a tourist wandering through its own story, pressed for time and always a little confused about what’s happening.
Among the papers of our friend Anne Braude, who passed away in 2009, I found a small pamphlet, a single folded sheet yellowed and brittle with age, that listed “102 Great Novels”. The pamphlet was distributed by the Scottsdale Public Library, and its list “COMPILED BY NELLENE SMITH, DIRECTOR”. Ms. Smith’s name dates the list to 1962 or 63 (thanks, Google!).
So, nearly sixty years ago, these were the books thought listing as “Great”.
Tommy Donbavand was an authour and entertainer who wrote over 100 books for young readers, including the Scream Street series. He wrote the Doctor Who book Shroud of Sorrow featuring the Eleventh Doctor.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 16, 1891 — Mikhail Bulgakov. Russian writer whose fantasy novel The Master and Margarita, published posthumously, has been called one of the masterpieces of the 20th century. The novel also carries the recommendation of no less than Gary Kasparov. (Died 1940.)
Born May 16, 1918 — Barry Atwater. Surak in “The Savage Curtain” episode. He did a lot of other genre work from Night Stalker where he played the vampire Janos Skorzeny to The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Night Gallery, The Wild Wild West and The Outer Limits. (Died 1978.)
Born May 16, 1937 — Yvonne Craig. Batgirl on Batman, and that green skinned Orion slave girl Marta on “Whom Gods Destroy”. She also appeared in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Wild Wild West, Voyage to The Bottom of the Sea, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Land of the Giants, SixMillionDollar Man and, err, Mars Needs Women. (Died 2015.)
Born May 16, 1942 — Judith Clute, 77. Illustrator, painter and etcher. Artwork can be found on such publications as Polder: A Festschrift for John Clute and Judith Clute and The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction.
Born May 16, 1944 — Danny Trejo, 75. Trejo is perhaps most known as the character Machete, originally developed by Rodriguez for the Spy Kids films. He’s also been on The X-Files, From Dusk till Dawn, Le Jaguar, Doppelganger: The Evil Within, From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money, Muppets Most Wanted and more horror films that I care to list here. Seriously he’s really done a lot of low-budget horror films.
Born May 16, 1950 — Bruce Coville, 69. He’s an author of young adult fiction. He has a number of series including Coville’s Shakespeare, Camp Haunted Hills and Bruce Coville’s Chamber of Horror / Spirit World. He’s is also the co-founder of Full Cast Audio, a company devoted to recording full-cast, unabridged copies of YA literature.
Born May 16, 1953 — Pierce Brosnan, 66. James Bond in a remarkably undistinguished series of films. Dr. Lawrence Angelo in The Lawnmower Man, lunch, errr, Professor Donald Kessler in Mars Attacks! and Mike Noonanin Bag of Bones.
Born May 16, 1962 — Ulrika O’Brien, 57. A Seattle-area fanzine fan, fanartist, con-running fan, and past TAFF winner. Her APA list according to Fancyclopedia 3 is quite amazing — Fringe, Widening Gyre, and Demi-TAFF Americaine (TAFF Newsletter). Her APAzines include Mutatis Mutandis, and APAs include APA-L, LASFAPA, Myriad and Turbo-APA.
Born May 16, 1968 — Stephen Mangan, 51. Dirk Gently in that series after the pilot episode. He played Arthur Conan Doyle in the Houdini & Doyle series, did various voices for the 1999 Watership Down, and appeared in Hamlet as Laertes at the Norwich Theatre Royal.
Born May 16, 1969 — David Boreanaz, 50. Am I the only one that thought Angel was for the most part a better series than Buffy?
…Let’s examine the contrarian position: newer isn’t always best. And let’s take our examples from science fiction, which is dedicated to exploring the new…and, sometimes inadvertently, showing that the newest thing may not work as intended.
(12) SFF FROM A FILER. Joy V. Smith, a regular contributor to the letter
column in File 770’s paper days, is
out with her latest book, Taboo
Taboo Tech is a science fiction adventure; it begins with Lacie Leigh Collier saying good-bye to her parents, who leave her in her Uncle Sterling’s care. However, this family has secrets and is fascinated with discovering caches of ancient technology, most of which is forbidden and protected zealously by the Interstellar Guard. So when her uncle gets impatient–he’s supposed to be taking care of Lacie until she comes of age–and takes her with him while on an venture of his own and is pursued by the IG, he sends Lacie on her way, and she must make her way back home, with her own AI, the young Embers, and continue her education at the space academy and points beyond while wondering where her parents are…
An academic claims to have deciphered a medieval manuscript which countless scholars including Alan Turing had been unable to decode.
The Voynich manuscript is a handwritten and illustrated text carbon-dated to the mid-15th Century.
The document is housed in the Beinecke Library at Yale University in the USA.
Dr Gerard Cheshire said: “I experienced a series of ‘eureka’ moments whilst deciphering the code, followed by a sense of disbelief and excitement.”
The manuscript is named after Wilfrid M Voynich, a Polish book dealer and antiquarian, who purchased it in 1912.
The script’s codex also baffled the FBI, which studied it during the Cold War apparently thinking it may have been Communist propaganda.
Dr Cheshire, a research assistant at the University of Bristol, said: “The manuscript was compiled by Dominican nuns as a source of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, who happens to have been great-aunt to Catherine of Aragon.
“It is also no exaggeration to say this work represents one of the most important developments to date in Romance linguistics.”
(14) RAWHIDE AND GO SEEK. Yesterday Ursula Vernon was on the road at an unholy hour to go help a friend “acquire a calf so that her cow will not be sad.” (Thread starts here.) We also learned something new about sheep —
I’d actually read all six Hugo Nominees when they were announced, though none made my nominating ballot (you can find that HERE). Still, three of the nominees came close to making my ballot, so I’m not really dissatisfied with the results, even if my favorites didn’t make it. There’s definitely some works I don’t really think are Hugo Worthy, though I can see how others might enjoy some of those more than I did. But there’s a few clearly worthy potential winners here as well.
Recently at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics in Brighton, New York, one of the world’s most powerful lasers blasted a droplet of water, creating a shock wave that raised the water’s pressure to millions of atmospheres and its temperature to thousands of degrees. X-rays that beamed through the droplet in the same fraction of a second offered humanity’s first glimpse of water under those extreme conditions.
The X-rays revealed that the water inside the shock wave didn’t become a superheated liquid or gas. Paradoxically — but just as physicists squinting at screens in an adjacent room had expected — the atoms froze solid, forming crystalline ic
Cat Eldridge Chip Hitchcock, Bruce D. Arthurs, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse
Wooster, John King Tarpinian, James Davis Nicoll, Daniel Dern, Carl Slaughter,
and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
by John Hertz: (reprinted from No Direction Home 11)
Blond woman and dog Running for joy in Van Nuys Lift my heart today
Liang Yun-hê was playing erh-hu at the Huntington, Pasadena; in the Chinese Garden, naturally. I arrived in time to hear the end of “Fisherman Singing in the Evening”, a ku-ch‘in [seven-string zither, sometimes called the Chinese lute, e.g. R. van Gulik, Lore of the Chinese Lute (1941) – the author we know for his Judge Dee stories; Van Gulik (1910-1967) inter alia played the ku-ch‘in himself] piece Mr. Liang had arranged for the erh-hu [two-string fiddle]. I’ve left out the drunken part [Tsui-yu ch‘ang-wan is really “drunken fisherman singing in the evening”].
across from him in the Studio of Pure Scents was a young Caucasian boy, which
was particularly suitable since Mr. Liang started playing erh-hu at age 8; he inter
alia is music director of the Chinese school A Little Dynasty, Irvine,
California, and composed the erh-hu
theme music for Disneyland Shanghai.
The Chinese GardenLiu-Fang Yuan [liu fang, “flowing fragrance”, meaning the scents of flowers and
trees as the seasons turn, is from “Rhapsody on the Luo River Goddess” by the
prince-poet Ts‘ao Chih (192-232)] opened in 2008 although it isn’t expected to
be finished until 2020.
the lake, which I saw and heard men draining for maintenance, are weathered
limestones from Lake T‘ai [T‘ai Hu,
“the great lake”, Chiang-su province; third-largest freshwater lake in China].
drank a cup of T‘i Kuan Yin tea at
the Huo Shui Hsuan “freshwater
pavilion” tea shop [an oolong from An-hsui province; Kuan Yin is the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who hears
the cries of sentient beings (Buddhists really mean sentient and not sapient,
unlike SF authors who for some reason misuse this word) and reaches down to
help them; the Lotus Sutra ch. 25
explains there are male and female manifestations; Chinese Buddhists venerate
Kuan Yin as female; one story of how the tea was named tells of an iron statue
of Kuan Yin; T‘i Kuan Yin is often
somewhat misleadingly translated “Iron Goddess of Mercy”].
Bridge of Verdant Mist, which quite unfairly brought to mind Mist on the Waters from Between
Planets, I heard a woman say to a man “It smells like mud,” and I
ventured “That’s because it is mud,”
meaning the drainage; they smiled.
Pavilion of Three Friends is named for bamboo, pine, and plum, symbolizing
fortitude, integrity, and resilience; all three grow nearby; carvings of them
decorate the ceiling; I quite unfairly thought of the Three Friends as
Confucius, me, and you – like the Hal Clement collection Trio
for Slide Rule and Typewriter, whose title I’ve explained to more than
one reader by asking “Who or what do you suppose is the third in the trio?” and
A glossy reddish-brown upholds and joins and rails the white walls, coloring pillarettes (a word I just made up) and else. It’s Mountain Camphor paint, supplied by Dunn-Edwards to match samples from Su-chou [the city, in Chiang-su province, long (by our standards) rendered “Soochow”]. I saw a scale model of the Garden, 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 standlees (more or less; Kevin Standlee is taller than I and his steps larger).
a baby Confucius camellia (Camellia
reticulata) about two feet high – I couldn’t walk up it – with, so far,
only leaves. William Hertrich was
superintendent of the Huntington gardens 1903-1948, loved camellias, started
growing them from seed in 1912; 80 different species by now; the International
Camellia Society has named the Huntington an International Camellia Garden of Excellence.
couple of standlees up the slope was a Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum) with three white flower clusters facing the
path. Confucius was a Chinese
snowball. From his historical life two
and a half millennia ago, how he has grown.
the path I saw a coast live-oak (Quercus
agrifolia), its trunk only a little taller than I. Live
oak has struck me as a strange name ever since I first met it in Macroscope
but I know it means the trees are evergreens.
The coast is the West Coast; native here.
way out I saw, by taking a moment for a sign, that I had been right, it was a
Calder stabile: Jerusalem,
or not to be unfair a 1/3-scale version lent by the Calder Foundation: the
original, 72 feet long, is at Mt. Herzl, installed 1977, the last sculpture he
produced. He loved gateways and it has
them. He invented mobiles – Duchamp named them – in
Red Car Café had Fosselman’s ice cream, as right for Pasadena as Mr. Liang’s erh-hu music was for the Chinese Garden. I took another moment for a cup of lemon
– o O
K. Garriott, Ph.D., died last month (1930-2019; he was 88). He had been a Star Scout and president of his
college senior class. He went to Space
twice: for sixty days during Skylab 3 (1973), at the time a world record, and
for ten days aboard Space Shuttle Columbia
operating the first amateur radio station from Space, call sign W5LFL, he
connected with his mother in Enid, Oklahoma; Senator Barry Goldwater of
Arizona; King Hussein of Jordan: 250 in all.
On September 10th, Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM) Bob Crippen in Houston
was startled (the New York Times said
“flabbergasted”, 17 Apr 19 p. B15 col. 1) to hear a woman’s voice beaming down,
calling him by name, and explaining “The boys haven’t had a home-cooked meal in
so long, I thought I’d bring one up.”
described forest fires seen from Space, and the beautiful sunrise; after
several minutes she ended “Oh-oh, I have to cut off now. I think the boys are floating up here toward
the command module, and I’m not supposed to be talking to you.”
Garriott later revealed he had recorded his wife’s voice in a private radio
transmission the night before.
It all started with a Third Grade teacher who had an orrery; as the Times quoted Dr. Garriott, “Fascinating.”
time he was 15 he had learned Morse Code and gotten an amateur-radio
license. In 1965 he was one of the first
six scientist-astronauts of NASA (United States Nat’l Aeronautics & Space
2008 he published the Skylab history Homesteading
Space (with David Hitt and astronaut Joseph Kerwin); his son Richard was
the sixth Space tourist, and first second-generation American, to go up.
Garriott said he never got bored, which the Times
thought was news and probably was.
“Anyone who runs out of something to do must have had a failure in their
imagination.” One of us.
The Prix Imaginales recognize the best works of fantasy of the
year published in France in six categories.
The winners were selected by a jury composed of critics,
journalists and specialists: Jacques Grasser (Président), Jean-Claude Vantroyen
(Vice-président), Annaïg Houesnard (Secrétaire), Stéphane Wieser (Directeur du
Festival), Christophe de Jerphanion, Natacha Vas-Deyres, and Frédérique
[NOTE: The Prix Imaginales is a
different award than the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire.]
Catégorie roman francophone / French novel
Robert DARVEL, Femmes d’argile et d’osier (Les moutons électriques)
Catégorie roman étranger traduit / Foreign Novel translated into
Dmitri LIPSKEROV, Le dernier rêve de la raison [Last Dream of Reason] (Agullo),
translated by Raphaëlle PACHE
Catégorie jeunesse / Youth category
Estelle FAYE et Nancy PENÀ, Les Guerriers de glace (Nathan)
Catégorie illustration / Illustration
Daniel ÉGNEUS, Le Dogue noir, de Neil GAIMAN (Au Diable
Catégorie nouvelle / Short Story
Neil GAIMAN, Signal d’Alerte [Trigger Warning](Au Diable
Catégorie prix spécial du Jury / Special Jury Award
Anne BESSON, Dictionnaire de la Fantasy (Vendémiaire)
The winner of the Prix Imaginales de Bande Desinée (for Comics) also
has been announced:
Prix Imaginales de la bande dessinée
– Tome 3 : Revenge by José HOMS (dessinateur); ZIDROU (scénario). Published by Dargaud
The members of the jury who selected this winner included Élisa Ambalard, Izneo marketing manager, Victor Battaggion, deputy editor of Historia, Frédéric Bosser, director of DBD magazine, Jacques Grasser, Deputy Mayor of the Town of Épinal, Hubert Prolongeau, Télérama journalist, Olivier Souillé, director of the Maghen Gallery, Stéphane Wieser, Director of Imaginales.
The award for crime fiction will be presented at the convention
on Saturday, November 2, 2019 in Dallas, TX.
The Anthony Award is named for the late Anthony Boucher, a well-known California writer and critic who wrote for the San Francisco Chronicle and the New York Times Book Review, and also helped found Mystery Writers of America. First presented in 1986.
will be voted on by attendees at this year’s Bouchercon and presented on
Saturday, November 2.
Nominees for the 2019 Anthony Awards are:
Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown
November Road by Lou Berney (William Morrow)
Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (Minotaur
Sunburn by Laura Lippman (William
Blackout by Alex Segura (Polis Books)
BEST FIRST NOVEL
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Broken Places by Tracy Clark (Kensington)
Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver (Pegasus
What Doesn’t Kill You by Aimee Hix (Midnight Ink)
Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin (Ecco)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL
Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett (Midnight Ink)
If I Die Tonight by Alison Gaylin (William Morrow
Hiroshima Boy by Naomi Hirahara (Prospect Park
Under a Dark Sky by Lori Rader-Day (William
A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin (Seventh
BEST SHORT STORY
“The Grass Beneath My Feet” by
S.A. Cosby, in Tough (blogazine, August 20, 2018)
“Bug Appétit” by Barb Goffman, in
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (November/December 2018)
“Cold Beer No Flies” by Greg
Herren, in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)
“English 398: Fiction Workshop”
by Art Taylor, in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (July/August 2018)
“The Best Laid Plans” by Holly
West, in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)
BEST CRITICAL OR NONFICTION WORK
Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving
an American Obsession by Alice
Bolin (William Morrow Paperbacks)
Mastering Plot Twists: How To Use
Suspense, Targeted Storytelling Strategies, and Structure To Captivate
Your Readers by Jane K.
Cleland (Writer’s Digest Books)
Pulp According to David Goodis by Jay A. Gertzman (Down &
Classic American Crime Fiction of
the 1920s by Leslie
S. Klinger (Pegasus Books)
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One
Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara (HarperCollins)
The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping
of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World by Sarah Weinman (Ecco)
…All of a sudden this crazy story about my finishing THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING years ago is popping up everywhere. No, I am not going to provide links. I don’t want to reward purveyors of misinformation with hits.
I will, however, say for the record — no, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six
It seems absurd to me that I need to state this. The world is round, the Earth revolves around the sun, water is wet… do I need to say that too? It boggles me that anyone would believe this story, even for an instant. It makes not a whit of sense. Why would I sit for years on completed novels? Why would my publishers — not just here in the US, but all around the world — ever consent to this? They make millions and millions of dollars every time a new Ice & Fire book comes out, as do I. Delaying makes no sense. Why would HBO want the books delayed? The books help create interest in the show, just as the show creates interest in the books.
So… no, the books are not done. HBO did not ask me to delay them. Nor did David & Dan. There is no “deal” to hold back on the books. I assure you, HBO and David & Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if THE WINDS OF WINTER had been delivered and published four or five years ago… and NO ONE would have been more delighted than me.
At the Q&A following the premiere of the new TOLKIEN film in Los Angeles last week, I did indeed say that Gandalf could kick Dumbledore’s ass.
Gandalf COULD kick Dumbledore’s ass. I mean, duh. He’s a maia, folks. Next best thing to a demigod. Gandalf dies and come back. Dumbledore dies and stays dead.
But if it will calm down all the Potterites out there, let me say that Gandalf could kick Melisandre’s ass too.
(3) HORRORMENTARY. The new drama Years and
Years, which follows a British family over the next 15 years began Tuesday
night on BBC1 in the UK, and will be screened on HBO in the US later in the
year. BBC contemplates: “How the near future became our greatest horror”.
…But if [J.G.] Ballard’s thinking was subversive at the time, now we’re beset by the nearest of ‘near future’ narratives. They are intent on imagining not what will become of us in thousands of millennia, or even in a few decades’ time – à la dystopian works like Blade Runner and Soylent Green, previously understood as ‘near future’ – but in as little as the next few years. In doing so, these near-near-future stories create realities that feel immediately recognisable to us, but invariably with a pretty unpleasant twist or three. In literature, these have gone hand in hand with the rise of the ‘mundane science fiction’ movement – which began in the mid-noughties and was built on “not wanting to imagine shiny, hard futures [but give a] sense of sliding from one version of our present into something slightly alienated”, says Roger Luckhurst, a professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at London’s Birkbeck College and an expert in science fiction.
And, at the moment, such stories are particularly prevalent on the small-screen….
(4) BLACK MIRROR. The
show returns to Netflix on June 5:
…At the height of his writing career, Beaumont began to suffer from a mysterious ailment. “By 1964, he could no longer write. Meetings with producers turned disastrous. His speech became slower, more deliberate. His concentration worsened. . . . after a battery of tests at UCLA, Beaumont was diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s Disease; he faced premature senility, aging, and an early death.” He died on February 21, 1967 at the age of thirty-eight.
(6) STORIES REBORN. Paula Guran’s anthology Mythic Journeys: Retold Myths and Legends was released yesterday by Night Shade Books.
The Native American trickster Coyote . . . the snake-haired Greek Gorgon Medusa, whose gaze turned men to stone . . . Kaggen, creator of the San peoples of Africa . . . the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend . . . Freyja, the Norse goddess of love and beauty . . . Ys, the mythical sunken city once built on the coast of France . . . Ragnarok, the myth of a world destroyed and reborn . . . Jason and the Argonauts, sailing in search of the Golden Fleece . . .
Myths and legends are the oldest of stories, part of our collective consciousness, and the source from which all fiction flows. Full of magic, supernatural powers, monsters, heroes, epic journeys, strange worlds, and vast imagination, they are fantasies so compelling we want to believe them true.
A nuclear physicist by training, Friedman had devoted his life to researching and investigating UFOs since the late 1960s.
He was credited with bringing the 1947 Roswell Incident — the famous incident that gave rise to theories about UFOs and a U.S. military coverup — back into the mainstream conversation.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
Apparently a big day in the history of B-movies.
May 15, 1953 — Phantom From Space premiered in theaters.
May 15,1959 — Invisible Invaders debuted in movie houses.
May 15, 1969 – Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price, screened for the first time.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 15, 1856 — L. Frank Baum. I adore The Wizard of Oz film and I’m betting you know that it only covers about half of the novel which is a splendid read indeed. I’ll confess that I never read the numerous latter volumes in the Oz series, nor have I read anything by him. What’s the rest of his fiction like? (Died 1919.)
Born May 15, 1877 — William Bowen. His most notable work was The Old Tobacco Shop, a fantasy novel that was one runner-up for the inaugural Newbery Medal in 1922. He also had a long running children’s series with a young girl named Merrimeg whom a narrator told her adventures with all sorts of folkloric beings. (Died 1937.)
Born May 15, 1926 — Anthony Shaffer. His genre screenplays were the Hitchcock’s Frenzy and Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man. Though definitely not genre, he wrote the screenplays for a number of most excellent mysteries including Death on the Nile, Murder on the Orient Express and Sleuth. (Died 2001.)
Born May 15, 1955 — Lee Horsley, 64. A performer who’s spent a lot of his career in genre undertakings starting with The Sword and the Sorcerer (and its 2010 sequel Tales of an Ancient Empire), horror films Nightmare Man, The Corpse Had a Familiar Face and Dismembered and even a bit of SF in Showdown at Area 51. Not sure where The Face of Fear falls has a it has a cop with psychic powers and a serial killer.
Born May 15, 1960 — Rob Bowman, 59. Producer of such series as Alien Nation, M.A.N.T.I.S., Quantum Leap, Next Generation, and TheX-Files. He has directed these films: The X-Files, Reign of Fire and Elektra. He directed one or several episodes of far too many genres series to list here.
Born May 15, 1966 — Greg Wise, 53. I’m including him solely as he’s in Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story. It is a film-within-a-film, featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing themselves as egotistical actors during the making of a screen adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s 18th century metafictional novel Tristram Shandy. Not genre (possibly) but damn fun.
At a press conference [on May 10] at the New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe, hosted by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program had advanced sufficiently to move the spaceline staff and space vehicles from Mojave, California to their commercial operations headquarters at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The move, which involves more than 100 staff, will commence immediately and continue through the summer, to minimise schooling disruption for families.
Virgin Galactic partnered with New Mexico in an agreement which saw the state complete construction of Spaceport America, the world’s first, purpose-built commercial spaceport, and Virgin Galactic committing to center its commercial spaceflight activities at the facilities once its vehicles and operations were ready for service.
(11) ZUBRIN’S CASE. The Space Review hosts Jeff Foust’s coverage of Robert Zubrin’s new book The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility.
…The second part of the book tackles the question of why humanity should move out in the universe. The reasons are familiar ones, from scientific discoveries to new technologies to the survival of humanity itself. For example, Zubrin reiterates a belief, dating back to his The Case for Mars book more than 20 years ago, that a human settlement on Mars will require ingenuity to survive, stimulating new technologies from robotics to fusion power that might not be developed on Earth.
Zubrin offers a comprehensive plan, one rich in technical detail—perhaps too rich at times, with some passages filled with equations describing chemical processes needed to extract resources on Mars or other worlds or discussing the physics of advanced propulsion technologies. But it seems a little fanciful to talk about concepts for interstellar travel like antimatter and magnetic sails when we find it so difficult today simply to get to low Earth orbit reliably and inexpensively.
Jane Green, bestselling author who traded England for New England
I’ve run out of space. Books are starting to get stacked up on the floor, underneath tables, underneath chairs, on top of tables. They’re everywhere. With no more room on the bookshelves, I’ve been eyeing this gorgeous French armoire that takes up an entire wall. That wall is just perfect for shelves and would make the room warmer. I know, however, that my husband really likes the armoire. He sees: storage, storage, storage. I see: books, books, books. We’ll see who wins.
For years, I couldn’t get rid of anything. I have had to learn to manage the flow. Paperbacks I tend not to keep unless I love them and know I’m going to reread them. Hardcovers are really hard for me to get rid of. They all signify a time in my life. They all have stories around the stories. I will sometimes just stand there and look at my books and remember.
There have always been a number of low-tech ways to circumvent cookie-based metered paywalls, where the same content is freely available in some but not all cases. For instance deleting cookies, using multiple browsers and copying the URL are go-to methods, and are near impossible to mitigate against. However, over the last 18 months, publishers have started plugging these gaps.
In February, The New York Times started tightening its paywall so readers couldn’t access paywalled content by switching their device to incognito mode. A New York Times spokesperson said it’s too early to glean the impacts of these tests.
The 2019 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans announce the shortlists for the Nommo Awards in all four categories – novel, novella, short story and comics/graphic novels.
The roughly 170 members of the African Speculative Fiction Society (ASFS) nominated works for the Awards long list and short lists. They will now have a three-month period to read the works and vote for the winners of the Awards.
The short-listed works must be speculative fiction created by Africans and published in calendar year 2018. The winners of the Ilube Nommo Award and the Comic/Graphic Novel award receive UD$ 1000.00. The winners of the novella and short story awards receive US$ 500.00. The ASFS thanks its patron Tom Ilube, CBE for his generosity.
The ASFS was founded in 2015. The creation of the Nommo Awards was announced at the Ake Festival in Abeokuta in November 2016. The winners will be announced at the Ake Festival in Lagos Nigeria in November.
This high-velocity maneuver is a nightmare if you’re a fly.
There’s a type of spider that can slowly stretch its web taut and then release it, causing the web to catapult forward and ensnare unsuspecting prey in its strands.
Triangle-weaver spiders use their own web the way humans might use a slingshot or a crossbow. Scientists from the University of Akron say this is a process called “power amplification,” and they published their research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week.
Research has shown that beneath every forest and wood there is a complex underground web of roots, fungi and bacteria helping to connect trees and plants to one another.
This subterranean social network, nearly 500 million years old, has become known as the “wood wide web”.
Now, an international study has produced the first global map of the “mycorrhizal fungi networks” dominating this secretive world.
Details appear in Nature journal.
Using machine-learning, researchers from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Stanford University in the US used the database of the Global Forest Initiative, which covers 1.2 million forest tree plots with 28,000 species, from more than 70 countries.
The Chinese Chang’e-4 rover may have confirmed a longstanding idea about the origin of a vast crater on the Moon’s far side.
The rover’s landing site lies within a vast impact depression created by an asteroid strike billions of years ago.
Now, mission scientists have found evidence that impact was so powerful it punched through the Moon’s crust and into the layer below called the mantle.
Chang’e-4 has identified what appear to be mantle rocks on the surface.
It’s something the rover was sent to the far side to find out.
Chunlai Li, from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, and colleagues have presented their findings in the journal Nature.
(19) GAME OF PYTHONS. Funny or Die shows why “Cersei isn’t the only hard-nosed negotiator Tyrion’s
John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge,
Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories.
Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Daniel Dern and