(1) CHIZINE STORY CONTINUES TO UNFOLD. Three more writers announced they have asked ChiZine Publications to revert their rights:
I have spent the past week reading and processing the ongoing revelations and allegations about my publisher ChiZine. I honour the words and experiences and the courage of those who have come forward to speak.
Through my agent, I have requested that ChiZine revert to me the rights to all of my work that they have published.
Re: The current status of my collection Celestial Inventories and Melanie’s final novel The Yellow Wood–I’ve asked for and received a reversion of the rights for these two ChiZine titles. As soon as they are removed from such online booksellers as Amazon they will be re-issued by Crossroads Press as e-books. Hopefully, at some point they will reappear in paperback form, but I can’t be sure if and when.
- Cat Rambo
Can*Con chairs Dererk Künsken and Marie Bilodeau have offered to use the convention’s platform to support affected authors and staffers:
Statement from Can*Con regarding recent public information about ChiZine:
A large number of detailed allegations of abusive behaviour and non-payment of authors and staff have recently come to light. Friends and members of the Can*Con community have been touched and hurt financially and emotionally. As Co-Chairs of Can*Con, we stand with the victims and offer our support, both as an organization and as Derek and Marie. We do not believe that there is a place in our community for abusive behaviour.
We would also like to offer to use what platform and resources we have to help the affected authors and staffers continue to move their careers forward. We would like to immediately offer to:
***use Can*Con’s social media presence to promote the books that affected authors may have for sale that will put money in their pockets, as well as places where the public can support their art through means such as Patreon, Ko-Fi, Drip, etc;
***waive the registration fee for Can*Con 2020 to affected authors and staffers so as to reduce the burden of participating in the community; and
***we will set aside 1-2 tables for free in the dealer’s room at Can*Con 2020, where affected authors and staffers can sell their author stock, other books, etc. without an additional conference expense. The authors could work together to organize shifts for the table, so that they can enjoy the con and network.
Any staffers or authors who would like to participate in any or all of this, please email email@example.com.
As co-chairs of a public event, we also have additional responsibilities in the face of this new information. We’ll take other appropriate actions to make Can*Con a place free of harassment and abuse, although it is possible that we will not be able to make public statements about that work. However, we hope that people take at face value our commitment to creating a positive, encouraging, energizing, uplifting space for SFFH folk. We are committed to always listen, learn, and act to continue to make Can*Con a space the community can be proud of.
We send our best and much warmth to those directly affected and also those triggered by these events. If we can do anything to help, please feel free to personally reach out to either or both of us.
Derek and Marie (and the whole Can*Con team)
Kerrie Byrne, after reading various posts revealing ChiZine’s finances, wrote another extended thread which begins here.
Bob Boyczuk’s November 7 post “The ChiZine Shitshow” has not previously been linked here.
I’ve been at the shit end of the stick with them ever since our relationship blew up when I withdrew my last book in Jan of 2018. My reasons for doing so were both personal and professional. Leaving the personal reasons aside, they hadn’t given me a royalty statement or payment in three years, to say nothing of the reserves against returns they withheld, some up to 5 years after they were due. Moreover, their support of my last book was, to say the least, underwhelming. To be fair, however, most of the money owing (as well as questions of rights) has been settled since, although not without a long and frustrating back and forth which included personal attacks on me. In the few years before I severed ties with them, several other authors had complained to me about their late/non-existent royalties and/or the way they’d been treated. When this first started happening, I generally defended Chizine. But, when it became clear this wasn’t just a few isolated cases, I gave up on trying to defend the indefensible, and my advice to other authors became, “They produce a good-looking product, but be aware of what you’re getting into.”
Brian Keene says listen in Thursday –
(2) LIFELINE. “We lived long and prospered! How Star Trek saved fans’ lives “ — Duncan Barrett interviewed fans who credit Star Trek for helping them survive life crises: in The Guardian.
[Letitia Lemon:] I grew up watching Voyager, but it wasn’t until university that I made my way through the whole Star Trek back-catalogue. Studying film and TV production, I could see that the shows were products of their time, but the characters and themes were timeless.
In my final year, I had an accident in the scene-dock where the sets were kept. A huge metal pole fell on to my head, missing my eye by less than an inch. For several weeks I had concussion, with nausea and light sensitivity that made it hard to look at a TV.
Then the nightmares began. In my dreams, the accident had left me with a gaping bloody eye-socket, like something from a horror movie. I would wake gasping for breath and run to check myself in the mirror. Every time I went back into the scene-dock I froze. I didn’t realise it, but I had PTSD.
It was an episode of Discovery that finally made it all click. In a crisis, Ash Tyler (Shazad Latif) was having flashbacks to being tortured by the Klingons, and Admiral Cornwell (Jayne Brook) was trying to calm him down. “You’re safe,” she told him. “What you are experiencing are the effects of past trauma.”
I stared at the screen in silence. I wasn’t watching as a film student now – or even as a fan – but as someone who knew exactly what that character was feeling. The admiral’s words gave me strength. From that day on, the nightmares stopped.
I tracked Jayne down on Twitter and told her my story. When I saw she was appearing at this year’s Las Vegas convention I knew I had to go, even though I was terrified of flying. I got through my first ever flight with Cornwell’s final line scrawled on a piece of paper in my lap: “Whatever your path may be, you can handle it.” When I arrived, she gave me a big hug. I knew it had all been worth it.
(3) OUTER LIMITS. Galactic Journey’s Natalie Devitt’s 4-episode recap includes a classic of SF television: “[November 13, 1964] Beat the Devil (The Outer Limits, Season Two, Episodes 5-8)”
Demon with a Glass Hand marks Robert Culp’s third appearance on The Outer Limits, after his previous roles in The Architects of Fear and Corpus Earthling. The third time is absolutely a charm. In this episode, Culp transforms into Trent, a man who recalls nothing of his past, but in the present is being pursued by human-like extraterrestrials called the Kyben.
The Kyben are after Trent to gain possession of his glass computerized hand, which “holds all knowledge.” His hand speaks, providing guidance to Trent to help him avoid capture. The Kyben already possess three of his fingers, which Trent needs in order to collect more information about his past. Along the way, he meets and is helped by a charming seamstress, Consuelo Biros, played by Arlene Martel of The Twilight Zone episodes Twenty Two and What You Need.
Harlan Ellison has done it again. Just like with The Soldier, Ellison‘s writing has helped The Outer Limits dive much deeper into science fiction. Ellison combines a lot of different things that, in the hands of a less skilled writer, might not work as well as they do here. The episode has an interesting premise, drama, action, and just a little bit of everything. Culp and Martel deliver spectacular performances. Back in the director’s chair is Byron Haskin, director of The War of The Worlds (1953) and this summer’s Robinson Crusoe on Mars.
(4) WHEN THE MAGIC INGREDIENT – $$ — IS MISSING. Mark Lawrence says this is what happened when studios came knocking on his door: “Hollywood and Hollywouldn’ts – your options as an author.”
…I spent a long time on the phone with very talkative, very enthusiastic, very convincing Hollywoodians. And I HATE phone calls. Hate them.
I was even skyped by the head of the head of a major US TV network’s Hollywood studio (CBS). He talked about how many millions would be spent on the (and here I forget the terminology) short taster that would be used to drum up funding for a full film.
I had small film companies showing me their short-form work and conference calling about scripts for different scenes – filming to start in 3 months.
Here’s the thing though. All of these people wanted the option on my work. Not one of these people was prepared to pay for it.
The option is a legal agreement that for the period of the option (typically 1 or 2 years) the author will not sell the film or TV rights to their work to anyone else. That’s all it is. You haven’t agreed to sell them to the person who holds the option (though sometimes you have – more of that later), just not to sell them to anyone else….
(5) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- November 13, 1933 — The Invisible Man premiered. Produced by Universal Pictures, the film stars Claude Rains, in his first American screen appearance, and Gloria Stuart. The movie was popular at the box office, Universal’s most successful horror film since Frankenstein. The film holds a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
- November 13, 1940 — Walt Disney’s Fantasia premiered at the Broadway Theater in New York; first film to attempt to use stereophonic sound.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born November 13, 1850 — Robert Louis Stevenson. Author of for Treasure Island, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the New Arabian Nights collection of short stories. (Died 1894.)
- Born November 13, 1888 — Philip Francis Nowlan. He’s best known as the creator of Buck Rogers. While working in Philadelphia, he created and wrote the Buck Rogers comic strip, illustrated by Dick Calkins. Philip Nowlan working for the syndicate John F. Dille Company, later known as the National Newspaper Service syndicate, was contracted to adapt the story into a comic strip. The strip made its first newspaper appearance on January 7, 1929. (Died 1940.)
- Born November 13, 1930 — Adrienne Corri. Mena in “The Leisure Hive”, a Fourth Doctor story. She was also in A Clockwork Orange, Devil Girl from Mars, Corridors of Blood, The Tell-Tale Heart, Lancelot and Guinevere, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Moon Zero Two which is not a complete listing by any means. (Died 2016.)
- Born November 13, 1933 — James Daris, 86. He played the role of Creature in the deservedly maligned “Spock’s Brain” episode. He’d do one-offs in I Spy, I Dream of Jeannie, Land of the Giants, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible, the latter with Shatter and Nimoy. He retired from acting with a role in Larva, a horror film.
- Born November 13, 1953 — Tracy Scoggins,66. Capt. Elizabeth Lochley on Babylon 5 and its follow-up series, the short-lived Crusade. See Neil Gaiman’s Babylon 5 episode “ Day of the Dead” for all you need to know about her. She was also Cat Grant in the first season of Lois & Clark, and she played Gilora Rejal, a female Cardassian, in “Destiny” a DS9 episode.
- Born November 13, 1955 — Whoopi Goldberg, 64. Best known as Guinan the Barkeep in Ten Forward on Enterprise in Next Gen which she reprised in Generations and Nemesis. Other genre appearances include It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle to name but a few of her appearances as she’s very busy performer!
- Born November 13, 1957 — Stephen Baxter, 62. Ok I’m going to confess that the only thing I’ve read that he’s written is the Long Earth serieswith Terry Pratchett. I’ve only read the first three but they are quite great SF! Ok I really, really need your help to figure out what else of his that I should consider reading. To say he’s been a prolific writer is somewhat of an understatement and he’s gotten a bonnie bunch of literary awards as well. It’s worth noting that Baxter’s story “Last Contact” was nominated for a. Hugo for best short story.
- Born November 13, 1971 — Noah Hathaway, 48. Best known as Atreyu in The NeverEnding Story and for being Boxey on the original Battlestar Galactica series. He was also Harry Potter Jr. in Troll, a 1986 comedy horror film which had nothing to do with that series.
(7) COMICS SECTION.
- Pearls Before Swine suggests a near-future story about why we didn’t get coffee this morning.
(8) SHADE OF A DOUBT. Brian Chesky, chief executive of Airbnb, answered a question for the New York Times:
NYT: What’s your craziest Airbnb experience?
…We also have some really weird things. …. One day a customer calls us and says they want a full refund. We say, “Why do you want a full refund?” They said, “Because the house is haunted and there’s a ghost in the house.” And we’re, like, “O.K., well, we have to adjudicate this.”
So we call the host, and all the host has to do is deny it, because there’s no photo evidence of ghosts. Well, unfortunately the host confirms the ghost, says that it’s a friendly ghost named Stanley, and that the ghost Stanley is in the listing description.
We read the listing description, Stanley is mentioned. So we go back to the guest and the guest says, “Yes, we knew about Stanley, that’s why we booked it. But Stanley has been harassing us all night.” How do you adjudicate that? So I guess the point is in this new economy built on trust you can only imagine the kind of issues you deal with. There is no playbook for this stuff.
(9) PRESERVING FANHISTORY. Fanac.org’s Joe Siclari sent out an update – he and Edie will see you next at Loscon in LA over Thanksgiving Weekend.
We brought the FANAC scanning station to Philcon last weekend, Nov. 8-10, and scanned over 1,500 pages. We also received donations of both publications and recordings. The week before, we also received a carton of recordings from NESFA. Those cover Boston fandom going back to at least Boskone 5 in 1968! We haven’t had a chance to inventory them yet but a quick glance includes recordings of Marvin Minsky, Isaac Asimov, Gordon Dickson and many, many others.
Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANT: Edie Stern, our webmaster is going to be a Guest of Honor at Loscon 46 in 2 weeks, Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2019, at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Come by and say “hello” to her.
To celebrate her Honorship, we will have another FANAC Scanning Station at the con. Bring your favorite fannish photos and fanzines to Loscon so we can scan them and add them to FANAC.org. If you have old fannish recordings or films you can bring those as well. See you at Loscon.
The silver-backed chevrotain — a mysterious animal that’s the size of a rabbit but looks like a silver-splashed deer — has been photographed in the wild for the first time. The chevrotain is the world’s smallest hoofed mammal, or ungulate.
Scientists say they have rediscovered a type of chevrotain that had been “lost to science” for nearly 30 years.
“They are shy and solitary, appear to walk on the tips of their hooves and have two tiny fangs,” says Global Wildlife Conservation, which helped back the project that recently tracked down the elusive animals in southern Vietnam.
(11) HOMEWARD BOUND. Returning to sender:“Hayabusa-2: Japan spacecraft leaves asteroid to head home”.
Japan’s Hayabusa-2 spacecraft has departed from a faraway asteroid and begun its yearlong journey back to Earth.
The spacecraft left its orbit around Ryugu on Wednesday with samples of the asteroid in tow.
Hayabusa-2 is expected to return to Earth in late 2020, completing its successful multi-year mission.
Japan’s space agency, Jaxa, said the collected samples could shed light on the origins of the Solar System.
(12) CAT BUNGLER. Caught by social media, “‘Fat cat smuggler’ falls foul of Russian airline”.
Russian carrier Aeroflot has stripped a passenger of his air miles for breaching its rules by sneaking his overweight cat aboard a flight.
Mikhail Galin, 34, took his cat Viktor on board flight SU1702, from Moscow to Vladivostok, Aeroflot said.
Under Aeroflot’s rules, pets weighing more than 8kg (17lb) must be placed in the luggage hold.
Because Viktor was too heavy for the passenger cabin, Mr Galin devised a cunning plan.
He swapped Viktor for a smaller cat during check-in to get around the weight restrictions.
(13) AIR FROM WHERE? Independent reports “Nasa gets inexplicable new data showing unexpected oxygen fluctuations on Mars”.
…During the study, which used an instrument to analyse the air on Mars over the course of three Martian years or just under six Earth years, scientist found that gases like nitrogen and argon behave predictably through the year. The proportion of the gas rises and falls relative to the amount of carbon dioxide, which makes up 95 per cent of Martian air.
They thought that oxygen would see the same changes. But they were shocked to find that it in fact rose through the spring and summer, with a varying amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, which suggests that it is being produced and then removed from the air.
Researchers were so shocked by the findings that their first course of action was to check the accuracy of the instrument used to find the data, but found it was working fine. Other possible explanations based on what we know about the Martian atmosphere were also considered, but rejected.
“We’re struggling to explain this,” said Melissa Trainer, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland who led the research. “The fact that the oxygen behavior isn’t perfectly repeatable every season makes us think that it’s not an issue that has to do with atmospheric dynamics. It has to be some chemical source and sink that we can’t yet account for.”
The similarities between the mystery of Martian methane and Martian oxygen could be more than a coincidence, scientists speculate. It might be possible that they both have the same as yet unidentified cause.
“We’re beginning to see this tantalizing correlation between methane and oxygen for a good part of the Mars year,” Atreya said. “I think there’s something to it. I just don’t have the answers yet. Nobody does.”
(14) STILL TRYING TO GET THE PERFECT SHOT. “Infamous Han-Greedo Showdown Has Been Recut (Again) for Disney+” — Tor.com has kept count how many times that’s been done.
This is the fourth version of the scene to appear in an official release: the original 1977, where Han appears to shoot (ahem) solo; the 1997 Special Edition that added in Greedo’s wide shot; the 2004 DVD edition which has Han and Greedo shooting at the same time; and now the 2019 Disney+ version, with Greedo getting in the last, baffling word.
(15) SOUNDS LIKE BATMAN. Lyndsey Parker, in the Yahoo! Music story “‘Batman’ composer Danny Elfman says turning down Prince was ‘biggest, most stressful gamble’ of his career” says that Elfman recalled that at one point during the production of Batman he quit rather than work on the score of the film with Prince and Michael Jackson. Eventually producer Jon Peters heard some of Elfman’s score and rehired him to completely produce the soundtrack. But the film had two soundtracks, one by Elfman and one by Prince.
“The studio was happy,” says Elfman. “Jon Peters, he came up to me when we were scoring it — because there was not even going to be a soundtrack album for the score; it was only for Prince’s songs, and I knew that. And he came up to me, and he said, ‘You know what? This score is so good, we’re going to release a second soundtrack.’ And I go, ‘Yeah, right. You’re just saying that.’ That had never been done. And he did it! Like I said, it was a tough sell, but once he got sold, he was really excited, and he was a huge advocate, and he personally made it a big deal to get that second soundtrack out. So, he became a really fantastic advocate for the score that he was so resistant to in the beginning.”
(16) BEST AT BEING BAD. “Thanos snapped Pennywise to win SYFY WIRE’s Best Villain award “ – which is just one of the categories in SYFY Wire’s amusing “Two-Minute Award Show.”
Although Thanos may know what it’s like to lose, the Mad Titan finally knows what it’s like to win! For the inaugural SYFY WIRE Awards, Thanos has been named the Best Villain of 2019.
But it’s not like Thanos didn’t have stiff competition. His closest competitor was none other than Pennywise the Dancing Clown from It Chapter Two. Pennywise certainly knew how to strike fear into the hearts of children, as well as their impeccably cast adult counterparts. But in the end (or should we say in the Endgame?), Thanos proved to be too much for Stephen King’s fearsome creation.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Susan de Guardiola, John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Darrah Chavey, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]