(1) FANS LOSE THEIR SHIRT OVER ELLISON DESIGN. A Harlan Ellison Facebook Fan Club member pointed out that a Hawaiian shirt seller on Etsy was offering a colorful fractal collage of Ellison images.
The first fan to respond made the mistake of saying admiringly, “I think I’m going to order it” and was instantly schooled how outraged Ellison would have been to discover someone attempting to profit from unlicensed sales of his image (nor without paying the photographers who took the pictures). Fans shared their ire with Etsy store owner Ed Seeman and the Ellison shirt was taken down. However, Seeman’s hundreds of other similar designs involving movie and TV celebrities, famous scientists, and classical composers, are still on offer. These include William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, John Williams, and “Stephan” King.
(2) THINGS WRITERS HAVE TO DO BESIDES WRITE. Jeff VanderMeer came up with one I haven’t heard before:
It looks like a hawk got a dove on the ground near one of the feeders while we were out. From the spread of feathers and lack of body or any parts, I think it’s a hawk rather than a cat. Honestly, I sure hope it was a hawk, because if it was a cat I have to get out the supersoaker, fill it with orange juice, and spend a lot of time quietly waiting in the shadows and I have so much else to do.
(3) JEDI FASHION STATEMENT. The Orange County Register blabs practically everything about one of Disneyland’s forthcoming Star Wars experiences: “Step-by-step preview of the lightsaber-building experience coming to Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge”.
Padawan learners strong with the Force will be able to build their own lightsabers using scavenged parts from fallen Jedi temples inside a covert workshop hidden from the watchful eye of the First Order when the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens at Disneyland.
The build-your-own lightsaber experience will take place in Savi’s Workshop — Handbuilt Lightsabers when the 14-acre land debuts May 31 at the Anaheim theme park.
The new Galaxy’s Edge themed land will be set in the Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu, located on the outer rim of the “Star Wars” galaxy. Every shop and restaurant in the village will have an extensive backstory and proprietor from the “Star Wars” universe.
The handbuilt lightsaber workshop will be run by Savi, who owns a space junkyard near the main entrance to Black Spire Outpost. The scrapper has been collecting lightsaber pieces from throughout the galaxy in hopes a true hero with the ability to assemble the parts would one day enter his shop. That day is today and that hero is you.
… Builders will choose from four lightsaber styles:
- Peace & Justice, reflecting the Jedi style from the Republic era
- Power & Control, a Sith style reflective of the Dark Side of the Force
- Elemental Nature, using natural components like Brylark trees, Cartusion whale bones and Rancor teeth
- Protection & Defense, incorporating components with ancient and mysterious motifs and inscriptions
(4) E.B. WHITE AWARD. “‘Bridge to Terabithia’ author Katherine Paterson wins E.B. White Award for literature” – the Burlington Free Press has the story:
Children’s-book author and Montpelier resident Katherine Paterson was announced Monday as the winner of the E.B. White Award, given once every two years by the American Academy of Art and Letters “in recognition of an exceptional lifetime body of work.”
Paterson, best known as the author of “Bridge to Terabithia,” receives $10,000 for the award that is given for achievement in children’s literature. The most recent winner, in 2017, was Judy Blume.
According to the biography on her website, Paterson has written more than 30 books, including 16 novels for children and young people. She won the Newbury Medal for American children’s literature in 1978 for “Bridge to Terabithia” and in 1981 for “Jacob Have I Loved.” She received the National Book Award in 1977 for “The Master Puppeteer” and 1979 for “The Great Gilly Hopkins.”
The Award jury members were Judy Blume and Alison Lurie.
(5) NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON SHOWS TO GO BACK ON AIR. Variety reports “Neil deGrasse Tyson Will Return to National Geographic After Assault Investigation” although little is said about what the investigation learned.
National Geographic Channel has completed its investigation into “Cosmos” and “StarTalk” host Neil deGrasse Tyson, and will move forward with both shows. The channel didn’t elaborate on its findings, however.
“‘StarTalk’ will return to the air with the remaining 13 episodes in April on National Geographic, and both Fox and National Geographic are committed to finding an air date for ‘Cosmos,’” the network said in a statement. “There will be no further comment.”
“Cosmos: Possible Worlds” and “Star Talk” have been in limbo for months, since Nat Geo launched an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the famed astrophysicist.
Fox had originally scheduled the new season of “Cosmos” to premiere on Sunday, March 3, while Nat Geo had slated a second window to begin on Monday, March 4. Both networks later had to scrap those plans.
(6) 2020 WORLDCON WEBSITE UPDATE. CoNZealand will unveil its changed website design on St. Patrick’s Day.
New Membership Site coming!
We are about to release our new Membership site. Barring any problems, we expect to open the site on March 17th, 2019, around 3PM NZST.
Our new system will include some new features.
- New accounts will be created for Pre-supporting Members;
- Membership upgrades will become available for Pre-supporting Members;
- Lay-by instalment payments will become available for the purchase of new Memberships and to upgrade existing Memberships;
- Existing membership numbers from our current online system will be increased by 2000. So if you are member #19, you will become member #2019. Because it’s the future.
- New fields will be added to the form to give people registering online the same options as those who registered on the paper form.
(7) DITILLIO OBIT. Writer Larry DiTillio, who became well-known to fans while serving as executive story editor on Babylon 5, has died at the age of 71. Before Babylon 5 he wrote for many TV shows, several of them also run by J. Michael Straczynski who recalled for Facebook readers their years of friendship and its end:
…Larry never pulled his punches, and that frankness requires stating that we did have our differences from time to time. Larry could be fractious, and I think he sometimes resented being brought on by me as a lieutenant. He was talented enough to be a show-runner on his own, and being constantly a second-in-command chafed to the point that he began carving out his own pocket universe in B5. He wanted to show that he could do what I was doing, which for me was never even a question, I just didn’t want him doing it when I was trying to tell a story in a straight line in a way that no one had ever done before. But things became increasingly difficult between us, the friendship strained and broke, and we parted ways after season two.
We didn’t speak again for nearly ten years. And that was very hard for me. I don’t make friends often or easily, and Larry was probably my closest friend, right alongside Harlan Ellison. We’d celebrated birthdays and went to conventions together, shared a love of comics and terrible movies and he even got me to do some gaming for a while, which was his greatest love, and we had dinner together more times than I can even begin to count. And now all that was gone, and I was lost.
Straczynski and DiTillio co-hosted local Pacifica radio show Hour 25 from 1987-1989, and I met him in the studio when I was there to promote Loscon. (I’d first met Straczynski when I recruited him to be on the 1980 Westercon program).
(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA.
Sonic More Music wants to show you the picture:
(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- March 16, 1961 –Walt Disney released The Absent Minded Professor to U.S. audiences.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born March 16, 1920 — Leo McKern. Long involvement in the genre so I’ll be selective here. You probably know from his non-genre role in Rumpole of the Bailey where he was Horace Bailey, but I’m fond of him in three roles, the first being Professor Moriarty In The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, the second when he played, and this is a slight pun, Number Two, the chief administrator, of The Village in The Prisoner series, and the third being the great Swami Clang In Help!, a Beatles film which should be genre even if it’s not. (Died 2002.)
- Born March 16, 1943 — Susan Bay, 76. Also known as Susan Nimoy, wife of that actor. She portrayed Admiral Rollman in two episodes of Deep Space Nine: “Past Prologue” in the first season and “Whispers” in the second. Her only genre appearance, I believe, was in the Mr. Merlin series.
- Born March 16, 1951 — P. C. Hodgell, 68. Her best known work is the Chronicles of the Kencyrath series with The Gates of Tagmeth being the current novel. She has dabbled in writing in the Holmesian metaverse with “A Ballad of the White Plague” that was first published in The Confidential Casebook of Sherlock Holmes as edited by Marvin Kaye.
- Born March 16, 1952 — Alice Hoffman, 67. Best known for Practical Magic which was made into a rather good film. I’d also recommend The Story Sisters, a Gateway story, The Ice Queen, an intense riff off of that myth, and Aquamarine, a fascinating retelling of the mermaid legend.
- Born March 16, 1961 — Todd McFarlane, 58. Best known for his work on The Amazing Spider-Man and Spawn. And let’s not overlook McFarlane Toys whose product could be fantastic or shitty depending on the mood of Todd on a given day. And, of course, Todd reached a deal after decades with Neil on unpaid monies due on books that Todd had done with him.
- Born March 16, 1963 — Kevin Smith. He was a New Zealand actor who was best known for being Ares in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and in its two related series – Xena: Warrior Princess and Young Hercules. He also voiced Ares for Hercules and Xena: The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus. And it looks like his last role was as Valdemar in the abysmal Riverworld movie. (Died 2002.)
- Born March 16, 1964 — Gore Verbinski, 55. He is best known for directing the first three films of the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. I see he’s also responsible for Mouse Hunt (a delightful film), Rango (ok going downhill here) and hitting rock bottom, The Lone Ranger.
- Born March 16, 1966 — David Liss, 53. Writer of Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover, novelization of Marvel’s Spider-Man whichis a 2018 action-adventure game. Comics writer, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear and Sherlock Holmes: Moriarty Lives series. Not at all genre but his trilogy of novels starting with A Conspiracy of Paper and featuring Benjamin Weaver, a retired bare-knuckle boxer, now a thief-taker, a cross between a PI and bounty hunter, are highly recommended by me.
- Born March 16, 1971 — Alan Tudyk, 48. Best known, I think, as Hoban “Wash” Washburne in the Firefly metaverse. His current role is the very, very irritating villain Mr. Nobody in the excellent Doom Patrol series on the DC Universe streaming service. For at least the first several episodes, he narrated the episodeswhich was really annoying as it included references to everything meta including Grant Morrison and universe creating goat farts. They dropped that aspect mercifully.
(11) BESIDES THE WRINKLE. At The Paris Review, Frankie Thomas’ YA of Yore column recalls “The Creepy Authoritarianism of Madeleine L’Engle”. It’s L’Engle’s mainstream YA novels that inspire the title.
…It was strange to go to school at night, and in a taxi with my father instead of on the bus. The book-signing took place in the elementary school gymnasium, noisier and more crowded than I’d ever seen it during the day; the event was open to the public and full of strangers. I carried two books for L’Engle to sign. One was my mother’s childhood copy of A Wrinkle in Time, which embarrassed me—surely everybody would bring that one!—but my mother had insisted. To correct for this, I also brought Troubling a Star, my favorite L’Engle novel and no one else’s. I hoped it would communicate to L’Engle that I was a different caliber of reader.
The line to meet L’Engle was so long, and I was so short. I couldn’t see her until it was my turn—then I was face to face with her. She was older than I’d expected. Her gray hair was cropped shorter than in her author photo. In my memory she looms quite tall even while seated at the book-signing table; I’ve always assumed this was the exaggerated perception of a very small nine year old, but apparently she was indeed very tall.
She smiled an impersonal smile at me, the same smile she must have smiled at thousands of other kids. She wrote her name, nothing more, inside my books. She did not say, “Wow, Troubling a Star? That’s an unusual choice!” She did not say “You are to be a light-bearer” or “You see things invisible to lesser mortals” or “I love you, Frankie, love you like my daughter.” If she said anything at all, I don’t remember what it was. The whole thing was over so quickly…
(12) SHH, IT’S A SECRET. Rebecca Lewis, in “Black Panther cast had no idea they were auditioning for a Marvel movie” on Metro was told by Winston Duke he auditioned for Black Panther using fake sides for a non-existent movie, and it wasn’t until Ryan Coogler showed up at his third audition that he began to realize he was auditioning for a Marvel movie.
(13) MEAN CUISINE. Clearly the demand is there!
(14) LOOK AT THE PRETTY PICTURES. SYFY Wire assembled an “Emerald City Comic Con Day 2 cosplay gallery”.
(15) EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTATIONS. For those keeping score at home, Adam Whitehead tells what all the Love, Death & Robots episodes are based on:
(16) FINDING 451. Parvati Sharma revels in the feeling of “When a book finds you” at The Hindu BusinessLine.
For a lover of second-hand books, buying a book pales in comparison to the sheer delight of chancing upon one
I was dying to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I’d discovered him through my mother and a cover-less paperback that contained her favourite Bradbury short story The Veldt, about two kids so addicted to their virtual reality (VR) nursery that they feed their parents to VR lions. But even at his most gruesome (and prescient?), Bradbury has a sheer open-mouthed enjoyment of the strange and unexpected — from him, I learned to love dystopia. I even tried to write it. “He chocked. He was chocking. He would be chocking until death,” I wrote, aged 11, before taking things to a grim conclusion: “Then suddenly his head burst”.
A world in which books were crimes? It was a dystopian vision that held a particular thrill — in such a world, I might be a criminal.
So I was burning to read it, Bradbury’s novel about a book-less future, but it did not occur to me to look for it in a bookshop. I was sure I would find it on the book-strewn pavements of Daryaganj in Delhi….
(17) THE SWARM. BBC explores “How swarming drones will change warfare”.
The swarm robots are coming and they could change the way wars are fought.
In February, the defence secretary said “swarm squadrons” will be deployed by the British armed forces in the coming years.
The US has also been testing interconnected, co-operative drones that are capable of working together to overwhelm adversaries.
Low-cost, intelligent and inspired by swarms of insects, these new machines could revolutionise future conflicts.
From swarming enemy sensors with a deluge of targets, to spreading out over large areas for search-and-rescue missions, they could have a range of uses on and off the battlefield.
But just how different is “swarm” technology from the drones that are currently used by militaries across the globe? The key is self-organisation.
(18) BEFORE YOU BUY. Looking for book reviews? There are links to all of these at Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom: “Friday’s ‘Forgotten’ Books and More”. The reviewer’s name comes first, then book title and author’s name.
- Patricia Abbott: Sleep While I Sing by L. R. Wright; What It Might Feel Like to Hope by Dorene O’Brien
- Paul Bishop: the Gunships series by “Jack Hamilton Teed” (Christopher Lowder)
- Les Blatt: Three Witnesses by Rex Stout
- John Boston: Amazing: Fact and Science Fiction Stories, April 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
- Ben Boulden: Snowbound by Richard S. Wheeler; Things to Come, January/February 1955, the catalog of the (Doubleday) Science Fiction Book Club
- Brian Busby: The Bright Path to Adventure by Gordon Sinclair
- Peter Enfantino and Jack Seabrook: Warren Comics (Creepy and Blazing Combat), October to December 1965, edited by Archie Goodwin
- Will Errickson: The Manitouby Graham Masterton
- José Ignacio Escribano:Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks by John Curran
- Curtis Evans: Swing, Brother, Swing by Ngaio March
- Paul Fraser: The Great SF Stories 5 (1943) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg; Unknown Worlds, June 1943, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.
- Barry Gardner: Kahawa by Donald Westlake
- John Grant: The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig; The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro
- Aubrey Hamilton: Death in the Quadrangle by Eilis Dillon
- Rich Horton: Antic Hay by Aldous Huxley; PITFCS: Proceedings of the Institute for Twenty-First Century Studies edited by Theodore R. Cogswell; Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart;
- Jerry House: The Select (aka The Foundation) by F. Paul Wilson
- Kate Jackson: three novels by Michael Gilbert;
- Death in Store by Jennifer Rowe
- Tracy K: Turncoat by Aaron Elkins
- Colman Keane: Cast the First Stone and Heart of Stone by James W. Ziskin
- George Kelley: The Great SF Stories 7 (1945) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
- Joe Kenney: Cold Iron by “Robert Stone Pryor”
- Margot Kinberg: The Division Bell Mystery by Ellen Wilkinson
- Rob Kitchin: Winston’s War by Michael Dobbs
- B. V. Lawson: The Port of London Murders by “Josephine Bell” (Doris Collier Ball)
- Evan Lewis: Half Past Mortem by John A. Saxon
- Jonathan Lewis: Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler
- Steve Lewis: The Goodbye Look by “Ross Macdonald” (Kenneth Millar); “Eurema’s Dam” by R. A. Lafferty; Lemons Never Lie by “Richard Stark” (Donald Westlake); “Schroedinger’s Kitten” by George Alec Effinger
- Mike Lind: Dashiell Hammett, Man of Mystery by Sally Cline
- Todd Mason: best of the year horror fiction annuals for 2016
- Jess Nevins: some women writers of horror from around the world
- John F. Norris: The Flight of the Doves by Walter Macken
- Patrick Ohl: In the Best Families by Rex Stout (hosted by Kevin Tipple)
- Scott D. Parker: Weird Western Tales, December 1973, edited by Joe Orlando
- Matt Paust: The Trail to Seven Pines by Louis L’Amour; Ways of Looking at a Woman by Caroline Hagood
- James Reasoner: “Blitzkrieg in the Past” by “John York Cabot” (David Wright O’Brien), Amazing Stories, July 1942, edited by Ray Palmer
- Richard Robinson: A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara
- Gerard Saylor: Murdaland, #1 (2007), edited by Michael Lagnas
- Jack Seabrook: “One More Mile to Go” by F. J. Smith, Manhunt, June 1956, edited by Scott Meredith
- Steven Silver: Convergent Series by Larry Niven
- Victoria Silverwolf: Fantastic: Stories of Imagination, July 1963, edited by Cele Goldsmith-Lalli
- “TomKat”: Challenge the Impossible: The Final Problems of Dr. Sam Hawthorne by Edward D. Hoch
- David Vineyard: The Seven Sleepers by Francis Beeding
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, John A Arkansawyer, Michael Toman, Todd Mason, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]