(1) UK COMICS FANDOM HISTORY RESOURCES. Rob Hansen has added a section to his UK fanhistory website about how SF fandom provided a breeding ground there for comics fandom. “There are photos and, of course, a multitude of links — both in the body of the article and at the end — that may be of interest, as well as a piece by Ron Bennett on sourcing old comics in Singapore back in the day that I don’t think many in our fandom would’ve seen before” — “Comics Fandom: First Stirrings”.
There used to be a saying in science fiction fandom that “it’s a proud and lonely thing to be a fan”, and for those who imagined themselves the only fan in their location it could be lonely indeed. The birth of the first SF fan groups in the 1930s gradually changed that, but what of comics fans? There’s enough of an overlap in interest between the two that SF fandom offered them a home, but it still wasn’t comics fandom.
When the 23 year old Brian Lewis went along to the inaugural meeting of his local group, the Medway Science Fiction Fan Club, on Thursday 28th August 1952 he soon became a valued member, contributing artwork to its clubzine THE MEDWAY JOURNAL. Before the end of the decade he would begin working as a professional comic artist, so had there been a comics fandom in 1952 it’s possible Lewis might have sought that out instead. But it was to be another decade before comics fandom in these islands began slowly stirring to life.
(2) WEIRD CITY TRAILER. A glimpse of a newly available YouTube Original —
From the mind of Jordan Peele and Charlie Sanders comes WEIRD CITY, a satirical anthology set in the not-too-distant future metropolis of Weird. In this dystopian setting of our show, the middle class has completely vanished dividing Weird City into two sections: Above the Line (The Haves), and Below the Line (The Have Nots). Presiding over the denizens of the city is the strange and mysterious Dr. Negari, who weaves all of our stories together. Each episode is a topic that pertains to present day life in America and the world: social media addiction, online dating, fitness obsession, etc.. WEIRD CITY captures the unease of modern urban living, in a bizarre and peculiar lens.
(3) MCGUIRE CLASS. Cat Rambo tweeted highlights from the online writing class taught by Seanan McGuire: “Crossing Over: Moving from Fanfic to Writing In Your Own Worlds”.
(4) NOT A MASTERPIECE. Galactic Journey’s John Boston finds the new (in 1964) novel by John Brunner isn’t up to snuff: “[January 12, 1964] SINKING OUT OF SIGHT (the February 1964 Amazing)”.
The blurb for the lead story in the February 1964 Amazing says: “Once every few years a science fiction story comes along which poses—and probes—philosophical questions: for instance: What is life that Man must live it? In a novel rich in incident, fascinating of character, John Brunner questions the essential meaning of life and death and purpose.”
That’s the pitch for Brunner’s 74-page “complete novel” The Bridge to Azrael. The last time we saw such an editorial panegyric, the mountain labored and brought forth—well, not a mouse. A capybara, maybe. Anyway, a modestly capable pulp-inflected novella, Daniel F. Galouye’s Recovery Area, not exactly the promised philosophical masterpiece for the ages. Sort of the same here, but worse: the mountain has labored and brought forth a mess.
(5) WHERE’S THE BEEF? On Facebook, Steven Barnes made an insightful comment about the working of history:
I suspect that at some point, we’ll have a meat substitute that has all the values of the real thing. About a generation after that, people will be claiming cows were pets. and a generation after that, there will be debates about what kind of utter monsters meat eaters could possibly have been.
(6) KENYON UPDATE. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s newsletter tells readers some of her books have been rescheduled at the same time her 28-year marriage is ending:
…Due to a number of events that are out of my hands and with the heaviest heart, I have to announce that Tor has decided to move several books this year, including At Death’s Door which will come out in the usual Dark-Hunter slot in September. Delaying the final Deadman’s Cross novel and moving the next Dark-Hunter title to 2020 was not something I wanted or had control over, and I know many fans will be greatly disappointed. Believe me, no one is more disappointed about this than I am, and since honesty, integrity, and transparency run thick in my DNA, I wanted to let all of you know what’s going on since there have been so many false rumors running loose lately. As many of you know, the last several years have been a very challenging and daunting time for me – both emotionally and physically.
There were so many great things that happened last year. We launched two wonderful books – Death Doesn’t Bargain and Stygian – to such great fan reception, making lists and news, and I spent a lot of 2018 on the road visiting with readers at major events and conventions across the U.S. Something I intend to do this year as well, and to go abroad to England, Australia and Portugal.
But it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses as I’m coping with the dissolution of my twenty-eight year marriage to a man I made the mistake of putting through law school by working three jobs so that he wouldn’t have to work any while he studied. A man who is now turning the skills I paid for against me as he ruthlessly lies about me and fights me for *MY* copyrights to characters, series and worlds that I had long before I ever met him (something he has admitted to on record time and again) and to books he knows he never helped to write or plot because he forbid me to even talk about my writing in front of him….
(7) SPACE ART CHALLENGE. ArtStation introduces Adobe’s space-themed art contest: “Adobe Dimension From the Moon to Mars—Apollo 50th Anniversary Challenge!”
For six decades, NASA has led the peaceful exploration of space, making discoveries about our planet, our solar system, and our universe. From October 2018 through December 2022, NASA will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Program that landed a dozen astronauts on the Moon between July 1969 and December 1972 and NASA’s first crewed mission – Apollo 8 – that circumnavigated the Moon in December 1968.
Adobe is challenging you to imagine the history and future of human exploration in space to celebrate this momentous anniversary and the release of Adobe Dimension 2.1. We’re calling on you to tell the stories of past and future space missions using free 3D assets from the Adobe 3D Stock “NASA: 60th Anniversary 3D Celebration” gallery and Adobe Dimension to compose and render a space-based scene following the challenge theme: From the Moon to Mars—Apollo 50th Anniversary.
Special guest judge former NASA astronaut Nicole Stott, a veteran of four missions to the International Space Station and the astronaut who painted the first watercolor in space, will judge the submissions with the Adobe Dimension team.
Your challenge is to create a visually compelling scene using at least one 3D asset inspired by NASA and optimized for Dimension that celebrates NASA’s ongoing mission to pioneer the future of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. Whether it’s the Apollo moon landings, or future initiatives to the moon and beyond, we want to feel the wonder and pioneering spirit of the astronauts and the vehicles that take them there. You’ll also be required to composite and render your submission using Adobe Dimension 2.1, but any other software (Pixologic ZBrush, Substance Painter, Adobe Photoshop, etc.) can be used to create elements for your scene.
IMPORTANT: The final work must be submitted as a digital image. You can use any 2D, 3D techniques as long as you 1) include 1 asset from the Adobe 3D Stock “NASA: 60th Anniversary 3D Celebration gallery and 2) render the final scene in Adobe Dimension.
(8) CHOOSE YOUR OWN LAWSUIT. NBC News reports “Netflix sued by ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book publisher over ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’“.
The publisher of the classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” books is suing Netflix, claiming the streaming service infringed on its trademarked format for the new film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.”
Chooseco, which was formed in 2004 to re-release several classic titles of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books originally published in the 1980s and 1990s, announced the suit on Friday.
“We have received an unprecedented amount of outreach from people who believed we were associated with the creation of this film, including parents who were concerned that we had aligned the CYOA brand they knew and loved with content that surprised and offended them,” Shannon Gilligan, co-founder and publisher of Chooseco, said in a statement.
(9) GENERAL LEE. io9/Gizmodo alerts viewers — “PSA: Stan Lee’s Last Animated Appearance Will Be Airing This Sunday”.
The late comics legend’s final animated cameo will be on Marvel’s Avengers: Black Panther’s Quest, airing this Sunday.
When Lee passed in November, we knew that he had some cameos already recorded, and now his final one in the world of animation is preparing to air. According to Marvel.com, he’ll be playing an important but brief role in an episode of the Disney XD Black Panther series. In the episode, titled “T’Chanda”, T’Challa will learn secrets about his grandfather. During that learning experience, Lee will appear in a flashback scene set in the 1940s, where Lee plays an Army General.
(10) ROBERTS OBIT. Worldcon Business Meeting veterans can share a moment of silence after reading this obituary circulated by the American Institute of Parliamentarians.
AIP has learned that Henry Martyn Robert III, passed away on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2018, in Maryland. He was 98 years old.
Henry was the grandson of General Henry M. Robert and the senior member of the authorship team for Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR). He began his association with RONR when he assisted his mother, Sarah Corbin Robert, in writing the 1970 edition, the most extensive general revision of Robert’s Rules. He has been actively involved in every edition since that time. His contributions to the parliamentary world are significant, and he will be missed.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- January 12, 1940 – The Invisible Man premiered theatrically.
- January 12, 1966 — The Batman television series made its debut.
(12) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born January 12, 1628 – Charles Perrault. He was a French author and member of the Académie Française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from the much earlier folk tales. The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), Cendrillon (Cinderella), La Belle au bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty) and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard). As such, his stories form many of the roots of fantasy as we do it. (Died 1723.)
- Born January 12, 1952 – Walter Mosley, 67. An odd one as I have read his Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins series but hadn’t been aware that he wrote SF of which he has four novels to date, Blue Light, Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent Future, The Wave, and 47. There’s a Jack Kirby art book called Maximum Fantastic Four was conceived of and orchestrated by him. Interestingly enough, he’s got a writing credit for episode of Masters of Science Fiction called “Little Brother” where Stephen Hawking is the Host according to IMdB.
- Born January 12, 1955 – Rockne O’Bannon, 64. Creator of five genre series in Alien Nation, Cult, Defiance, Farscape and seaQuest. He also help write the Warehouse 13 pilot. He has also written and produced for Constantine, Revolution and V, among many other projects. (I loved Farscape and seaQuest but thought Defiance went bad fast.)
- Born January 12, 1957 – John Lasseter, 62. Animator fired from Disney for promoting computer animation who joined Lucasfilm which eventually became Pixar under Steve Jobs. And where he directed Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Cars and Cars 2. He also Executive Produced Toy Story 3 as well as Zootopia, Finding Dory and Incredibles 2.
- Born January 12, 1960 – Oliver Platt, 59. My favorite role by him is Porthos in The Three Musketeers but his first genre role was as Randy Steckle in Flatlineers and he later played Rupert Burns in the Bicentennial Man film on Asimov’s The Positronic Man. He voices Hades in Wonder Woman, not surprising given his deep voice.
- Born January 12, 1970 – Kaja Foglio, 49. Writer, artist, and publisher. Foglio co-won the first Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story in 2009 for the absolutely stunning Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, and co-won two more Hugo Awards the following years. Having won three three years running, they removed themselves from further competition. If you haven’t read them, you’re in for treat as they’re quite amazing. Her husband Phil Foglio and colorist Cheyenne Wright do stunning work.
(13) COMICS SECTION.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal shows another couple who only discovered their basic incompatibility after marrying.
- Non Sequitur illustrates that editors make a whale of a difference.
(14) CUTE REFERENCE. The Atlantic’s article “The Fellowship of the Ring Finders” tells about “A website connects people who have misplaced their rings with metal detectorists who know where to look.”
Usually, stories of this variety almost always end in tears. Yet these three people found their lost rings, frantically Googling some iteration of I lost my wedding ring and stumbling upon a network of metal detectorists who help people locate their misplaced jewelry. They had found their way to the Ring Finders, a service that pairs these people with one of 430 sleuths stationed around the world.
According to the British insurance company Protect Your Bubble, 11 percent of people have lost their wedding rings in the past five years. Since wedding rings can cost upwards of $6,000, losing them can be especially painful for couples, and yet it also gives detectives adept in the art of finding lost rings a chance to intervene and be the hero.
Probably a good thing this service wasn’t available to Sauron during the Third Age of Middle-Earth!
(15) CUTBACK. News that “SpaceX To Lay Off 10 Percent Of Its Workforce” comes surprisingly soon after they’d just finished replacing the Iridium telephone satellites.
SpaceX, the pioneering space technology company led by Elon Musk, will lay off about 10 percent of its more than 6,000 employees.
The news was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
In a statement, a company spokesman confirmed the layoff without specifying how many employees will be released.
(16) DOCTOR RUNS UP AGAINST BREXIT. Fansided asks: “Doctor Who: UNIT’s suspension – a move too far?”
One of the most controversial moments in New Year’s Day special Resolution was the suspension of UNIT. Was the removal of a major part of Doctor Who a step too far for Chris Chibnall?
Perhaps the most significant scene in Resolution was when the Doctor tried to call her friends at UNIT. Instead of reaching Kate Stewart and an organization that she’s fought alongside with for decades, she was instead forwarded to Polly at the “UK Security Helpline”. This was when the Doctor (and the fans) were given a bit of a shock when Polly informed her:
UNIT operations have been suspended pending review.
That’s right. For the moment, at least, UNIT isn’t around to help the Doctor save the day. The reason? Well, officially, it’s because funding was withdrawn from international partners. The implied reason? Brexit. Brexit killed UNIT, or at the very least, put it into deep sleep. At least, according to Chris Chibnall.
(17) WHO SCRIPTS. Io9’s Julie Muncy learned how you can “Pass the Weekend with the BBC’s Backlog of Doctor Who Screenplays” —
…it turns out the BBC Writer’s Room website features an extensive backlog of screenplays for BBC shows. Their latest post is the first episode of this past season of Doctor Who, featuring the debut of Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor.
(18) A HOLE IN SPACE. National Geographic thinks “Astronomers may have finally seen a star become a black hole”.
As dinosaurs stomped across ancient Earth more than 200 million years ago, a massive star was entering its death throes. The resulting cosmic explosion was so unusual, it left astronomers scratching their heads when its glow at last reached our planet last June.
Now, the mysterious flash may have an origin story. Based on the latest observations of the strange supernova, nicknamed the Cow, a team of 45 astronomers argues that it may represent the first time humans have captured the exact moment a dying star gave birth to a black hole.
(19) GLEANING THE STARFIELDS. NBC News tells how “Citizen scientists discover strange new world that pro astronomers missed”.
With help from a dead spacecraft [2015 Kepler data], citizen scientists just discovered an alien world that professional astronomers had overlooked.
The newfound exoplanet orbits a small red star 226 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Taurus. Roughly twice as big as Earth, K2-288Bb circles its host star in the so-called habitable zone, where liquid water and possibly life could exist.
[…] Scientists are excited about K2-288Bb not only because of the possibility that it could support life, but also because it’s unlike anything in our solar system: a solitary, midsize planet circling a star that has a nearby stellar companion.
(20) STAR TREK LINKAGE. IGN analyzes the implied promise: “Star Trek: Explaining the Picard Show’s Timeline and How It Connects to the J.J. Abrams Movies”.
Many Star Trek fans are psyched that Patrick Stewart is returning to the role of Captain Picard for an all-new TV series on CBS All Access. And while story details on the show have been scarce, we do know that it will be about the legendary character exploring the next chapter of his life some 20 years after we last saw him in 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis.
But a recent interview with Star Trek executive producer Alex Kurtzman has revealed some interesting hints about the Picard show, even while it’s gotten some folks confused about which timeline it takes place in. Let’s nerdsplain this thing!
[…there follows much exposition, concluding with…]
So while the Picard show will take place in the traditional Prime Timeline, the producers have found a clever way to connect it to the events of the modern movies. The series is expected to debut in late 2019.
(21) LITTLEFINGER, DEAD OR ALIVE? Carl Slaughter says, “Intriguing theory. Lots of clues.”
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, James Davis Nicoll, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Steven H Silver, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]