(1) FREE READ FROM FUTURE TENSE. “The Suicide of Our Troubles” by Karl Schroeder, is part of Future Tense Fiction, a monthly series of short stories from Future Tense and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination about how technology and science will change our lives.
Nadine Bach noticed a package of ham waving at her from inside the grocery store. November was one of those months when the choice was between paying rent and buying food, and she hadn’t planned to stop by during her daily walk—but this ham was proclaiming that it was free.
Having prospective meals wave at her was hardly unexpected—Mixed Reality was finally maturing past the flying-whale stage of visual grab-assery, and was settling into the predictable role of being yet another advertising medium….
Journalist Anna V. Smith has written a response essay: “When Nature Speaks for Itself”.
In more than 100 countries, citizens have clear constitutional rights to a healthy environment. The United States is not one of them. Nevertheless, for the past few decades or more, people have argued through the courts that the U.S. has an obligation to provide a healthy environment, including addressing climate change, as the Juliana v. United States youth lawsuit has insisted. But simultaneously, an emerging movement is focusing on the rights of nature itself: to grant personhood status to lakes, rivers, and plant species so they might have legal standing in court to defend their rights to exist and persist. If laws are an assertion of a nation’s values, what does it say that the U.S. grants personhood to corporations, but not nature?…
(2) ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT UTAH. Salt Lake City’s Fox13 reports “Monolith removed from southern Utah desert by ‘unknown party’”. You see, this is how primates really operate. That’s why 2010 is in the rearview mirror and we’re nowhere near Europa.
The now-famous “monolith” structure that was discovered last week by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter crew during a count of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah has been removed — but not by government officials.
Riccardo Marino posted on Instagram that he and Sierra Van Meter went to the spot, located south of Moab and just east of Canyonlands National Park, late Friday night to get some photos. But when they arrived, it was no longer there.
Marino said they saw a pickup truck with a large object in its bed driving in the opposite direction shortly before they got there.
Marino and Van Meter also saw that someone had written “Bye B****!” and appeared to have urinated at the spot where the piece, believed by most to be abstract art, formerly stood.
(3) NEW ZOOM INTO FAN HISTORY. Joe Siclari of FANAC.org invites you to “Get ready for a trip to fannish London!”
We are planning a series of Zoom Interactive Fan History Sessions, and for our first session, Rob Hansen is going to give us an historic tour of fannish Holborn, London. Rob is probably the most accomplished fan historian writing these days. As most of you know, he has written the history of English fandom, Then and has put together a number of books covering various aspects of British fandom. Find many of them at https://taff.org.uk/ebooks.php. Reserve the date: Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 11AM EDT.
Despite the pandemic, Rob has done video recordings around London, and with historic photos and live description will give us a tour that covers some household fannish names and places. He has worked with Edie over the past several months to provide an interesting and fairly detailed coverage of London’s fan heritage. This one hour session is based on tours which Rob has given to individual fans and also developed as a group tour after the last London Worldcon. Even if you have been on one of these tours, you will find some fresh sights and insights. Of course, Rob will be live on Zoom with additional material and to answer questions. Please send your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, as our Zoom service is limited to 100 participants.
(4) ALMA AWARD. The nominees for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2021 were released in October, 263 candidates from 69 countries.
Worth 5 million Swedish kronor, the world’s largest cash prize for children’s literature is given to authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters for work “of the highest artistic quality” featuring the “humanistic values” of the late Pippi Longstocking author, for whom the award is named. Lindgren died in 2002 at the age of 94.
The 2021 ALMA laureate will be announced on April 13, 2021.
(5) PROWSE OBIT. Actor Dave Prowse, the original Darth Vader, has died aged 85 reports The Guardian. He was a 6’6″ weightlifter who’d made a name for himself in England as The Green Cross man, a traffic safety figure in PSAs before being invited by George Lucas to audition for the roles of Vader and Chewbacca. He chose Vader and when asked why, replied: “Everyone remembers the villain.”
(6) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- 1990 — Thirty years ago, the sort of horror novel Angel of Darkness by Samuel M. Key was first published by Jove Books. The author had a short career having just three novels credited to him, the others being From a Whisper to a Scream and I’ll Be Watching You. Now that would be the end of the story if it hadn’t turned out that this was the pen name for Charles de Lint who recently won a World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, a rare honor indeed. Amusingly enough, Samuel M. Key was the name of the small monkey puppet that graced the top of his computer at that time. All three novels are now available from the usual digital suspects under the name of de Lint.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born November 29, 1832 – Louisa May Alcott. Besides Little Women, Little Men, and more outside our field, she wrote A Modern Mephistopheles and five dozen shorter ghost stories, fairy tales, and other fantasies. Active abolitionist and feminist. (Died 1888) [JH]
- Born November 29, 1898 — C.S. Lewis. There are no doubt folks here who are far more literate on him than I am. I read The Screwtape Letters for a college course decades ago and thoroughly enjoyed The Chronicles of Narnia also many years back but that’s it for my personal acquaintance with him. I know individuals that have loved The Space Trilogy and I’ve known ones who loathed it. So what do you like or dislike about him? (Died 1963.) (CE)
- Born November 29, 1918 — Madeleine L’Engle. Writer whose genre work included the splendid YA sequence starting off with A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. One of her non-genre works that I recommend strongly is the Katherine Forrester Vigneras series. (Died 2007.) (CE)
- Born November 29, 1925 – Leigh Couch. Science teacher. First Fandom. Active fan, as were her husband and their children including Lesleigh Luttrell. LC had letters in The Alien Critic, Janus, SF Commentary, and Analog. Guest of Honor at Archon 1 – as LL was at Archon 3. (Died 1998) [JH]
- Born November 29, 1950 — Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Writer who produced a number of genre novels and more than seventy short fiction works. He was chair of the Nebula Award Committee for nearly a decade, and business manager for the SFWA Bulletin for several years; he also chaired for 7 years, SFWA’s Grievance Committee, which advocates for authors who experience difficulties in dealing with editors, publishers, agents, and other entities. He received the Service to SFWA Award in 2005, and after his death, the award was renamed in his honor. (Died 2012.) (CE)
- Born November 29, 1952 – Doug Beekman, age 68. A hundred covers, ninety interiors. Also comics, collectible cards, agenting; outside our field, advertising. Spectrum Gold Award for comics, Silver for advertising. Here is Time Out of Joint. Here is The Drawing of the Dark. Here is Spinneret. Here is The Stars at War. Here is an ink drawing for Homecoming Earth (and see DB’s comments here). [JH]
- Born November 29, 1956 – Mark Ferrari, age 64. Having for years taken our breath away with colored-pencil images like these he was struck by a truck while riding his mountain bike, recovering but not enough to perpetuate his Prismacolor perfection. He wrote The Book of Joby, by which time technology could take him to giving good graphics again. Now he can make this and this. Do see his Website. [JH]
- Born November 29, 1969 — Greg Rucka, 51. Comic book writer and novelist, known for his work on Action Comics, Batwoman and Detective Comics. If you’ve not read it, I recommend reading Gotham Central which he co-created with Ed Brubaker, and over at Marvel, the four issue Ultimate Daredevil and Elektra which he wrote is quite excellent as well. I’ve read none of his novels, so will leave y’all to comment on those. He’s a character in the CSI comic book Dying in the Gutters miniseriesas someone who accidentally killed a comics gossip columnist while attempting to kill Joe Quesada over his perceived role in the cancellation of Gotham Central. (CE)
- Born November 29, 1971 — Naoko Mori, 49. Torchwood is really the genre appearance she’s remembered for and I see that she popped up first in Doctor Who playing her Torchwood character of Doctor Sato in the Ninth Doctor story, “Aliens of London”. She also voiced Nagisa Kisaragi in Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm, and she had the role of Asako Nakayama in the second season of The Terror series which is based off the Dan Simmons novel. (CE)
- Born November 29, 1976 — Chadwick Boseman. Another death that damn near broke my heart. The Black Panther alias Challa in the Marvel metaverse. The same year that he was first this being, he was Thoth in Gods of Egypt. (If you’ve not heard of this, no one else did either as it bombed quite nicely at the box office.) He was Sergeant McNair on Persons Unknown which is at least genre adjacent I would say. And he even appeared on Fringe in the “Subject 9” episode asMark Little / Cameron James. (Died 2020.) (CE)
- Born November 29, 1981 – Jon Klassen, age 39. First person to win both the Caldecott (U.S.) and the Greenaway (U.K.) for illustration with the same book, which he wrote too. Both This Is Not My Hat and predecessor I Want My Hat Back were NY Times Best-Sellers, jointly selling over a million copies. Previously the Governor General’s Award for English-language children’s illustration (Canada; Cats’ Night Out). Among other things JK illustrated Mac Barnett’s Circle. [JH]
- Born November 29, 2001 – Mckenzie Wagner, age 19. Five books, the first published when she was 7. Maybe anything can’t happen, but lots of things can. You start whenever you start. [JH]
(8) ICE PIRATES. Alec Nevala-Lee discusses Stillicide by Cynan Jones at the New York Times: “A Climate-Crisis Novel Offers True-to-Life Snapshots of Survival”.
…Cynan Jones’s climate-crisis novel “Stillicide,” which was originally written as a BBC Radio series, arrives just as the bar has been raised for world-building. We want speculative fiction to unfold against a complex background, without getting bogged down in incidental facts that an average person would take for granted. Yet noticing the uncanny details of our lives is all we seem to do lately, and few authors can compete with the strangeness of the real world.
Over the course of several excellent short novels, Jones, who lives in Wales, has figured out a formula that seems to rise to the challenge. His favorite strategy is to build a story around a single clearly defined thread — in his devastating debut, “The Long Dry,” it’s a lost cow — that provides a structure for a series of intensely observed vignettes. This frees him to move between time frames and perspectives, and he often focuses on people on the margins.
In “Stillicide,” the through-line is an iceberg headed for London. The novel opens many years after Britain has entered an extended drought, and enough time has passed for one phase of responses to yield to the next. After becoming a target for terrorists, a pipeline to the city has been replaced by a train that carries millions of gallons of water from a distant reservoir, equipped with automatic guns to mow down any moving object near the tracks. Another plan involves towing a giant iceberg to the dry Thames, which will displace entire neighborhoods….
(9) DUE NORTH. Sean D.’s “Microreview [Book]: Sweet Harmony by Claire North” at Nerds of a Feather covers a new novel by a celebrated author.
…Sweet Harmony follows Harmony, a young woman living in a world in which nanotechnology (nanos) can not only improve your health, but your libido, mentality, and physicality. Harmony’s surrounded by people obsessed with superficiality, and the more she is deemed unworthy by them, the more insecure she becomes. She becomes beholden to nanos, with almost all of her expenditures dedicated to keeping her esteemed beauty. But that obsession comes with a price.
This novella tackles domestic abuse, unattainable beauty standards, familial conflict, selfishness warring with selflessness, and vocational biases. Not one of those themes is undercooked or scattered. The secret is that Claire North uses the nanotechnology as an underpinning to all these themes. The story spotlights Harmony’s experience and growing dependency on the nanos and touches all the themes along the way, never losing focus because as it moves from idea to idea, it’s always grounded in a center.
(10) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Posten–Santa” on Vimeo, Santa’s feeling pretty grumpy because the icebergs at the North Pole are melting and the Norwegian Postal Service is improving its deliveries!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Joe Siclari, David Doering, Michael J. Walsh and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew (not Werdna).]