(1) BE PREPARED. The Center for Disease Control has updated its Zombie Preparedness webpage: Yahoo! has the story — “The CDC is giving advice on preparing for a zombie apocalypse. Here’s why experts applaud the move.”
… The CDC recently updated the Zombie Preparedness section on its website — yes, this is a thing. While the section isn’t new — it originally launched back in 2011 — it does make for interesting timing given that it’s been updated in the middle of a global pandemic that just so happens to be happening in the year of a predicted zombie apocalypse.
The CDC makes it clear online that this is a joke, albeit one with a serious message about the importance of disaster preparedness. “Wonder why zombies, zombie apocalypse, and zombie preparedness continue to live or walk dead on a CDC web site?” the landing page reads. “As it turns out, what first began as a tongue-in-cheek campaign to engage new audiences with preparedness messages has proven to be a very effective platform. We continue to reach and engage a wide variety of audiences on all hazards preparedness via ‘zombie preparedness.'”
The CDC offers up lesson plans for teachers on zombie apocalypse preparedness, a downloadable poster that reads, “Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Prepared,” next to a zombie’s face, and general information about disaster preparedness….
The site’s resources include a Zombie Preparedness Graphic Novel.
Join Penguin Random House, Library Journal, and School Library Journal for a free, day-long virtual book and author festival as we celebrate National Library Week and librarians everywhere!
Enjoy a day packed with author panels and interviews, book buzzes, virtual shelf browsing, and adding to your TBR pile. You’ll hear from many of your favorite authors, whose work runs the gamut from Picture Books to Young Adult titles to the best new Fiction and Nonfiction for adults. There is something of interest for every reader. Attendees will also have the opportunity to check out the virtual exhibit hall, chat directly with authors, access eGalleys, and enter to win prizes and giveaways.
(3) GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE? Apparently before there was Niven’s “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” a similar idea was expressed in an unpublished Nabokov poem that has only now seen print: “Poem: ‘The Man of To-morrow’s Lament’ by Vladimir Nabokov” in the Times Literary Supplement. The verse appears at the end of the article which is unfortunately paywalled — unless you haven’t exhausted your quota of free articles.
…Originally included with Nabokov’s letter from 16 June, the poem was preserved in a separate folder, holding various poems, prose pieces, and newspaper clippings that had been sent to “Dear Bunny” (Edmund Wilson Papers. Box 170. Folder 4246). Nabokov’s unpublished poem lay in this folder for nearly eighty years, breaking out at last – as Superman himself would – to see the light of day.
It should be fair use to quote these four lines from the middle of the poem which caused the New Yorker to reject it in 1942:
I’m young and bursting with prodigious sap,
and I’m in love like any healthy chap –
and I must throttle my dynamic heart
for marriage would be murder on my part
(4) WHAT DID YOU SEE FROM 2020 THAT DESERVES A CHESLEY AWARD? ASFA President Sara Felix announced the Chesley Award suggestions are now open: “Did you know anyone can suggest art at this time? Artists, Fans, Collectors, Art Directors…. we welcome all to show us the fabulous art seen last year.” You have until April 2nd to get them in. The 2021 Chesley Award Suggestions.
The suggestion form is now live. Please send in your suggestions before April 2nd. We will then begin to collate the lists and open nominations.
There is also a photo album for people to add images of the suggestions here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/JLyREPvr3UfzTq889
If you can’t see the form here is the direct link: https://forms.gle/Ly565iDj1iAiyke67
(5) (C). Ursula Vernon posted an after-action report about a Twitter brawl over copyright.
(6) TRAN IS BACK. In the Washington Post, Michael Cavna interviews Kelly Marie Tran, who overcame a lot of social media hate thrown at her for her Star Wars work to portray “the first Disney princess of Southeast Asian descent” in the just released Raya And The Lost Dragon. “Kelly Marie Tran’s journey to becoming a fighting Disney princess: ‘It feels like an absolute miracle’”.
If the remarkable life and times of Kelly Marie Tran were a Disney movie, the opening scene would not spotlight the young, hungry unknown hustling to yet another post-college audition in her Honda Civic, or the multi-hyphenate talent being plucked from relative obscurity to become the most prominent actress of color in a Star Wars film. It would not show the swirl of red-carpet events for “The Last Jedi” she posted on social media, or the vile online abuse that followed.Instead, the opening shot would zoom in on Tran as a bright-faced kindergarten singer, performing in her church choir and getting struck by something more life-altering than any radioactive Disney/Marvel spider. This was when and where she was first bitten by the performance bug.
Tran, 32, is best known globally for playing mechanic Rose Tico in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. And with this weekend’s release of Disney’s animated “Raya and the Last Dragon” (in theaters and streaming), the talents of Tran will be on full display in a title role, as she deploys her trained voice in an emotionally resonant and rounded performance….
(7) VIRTUAL TRAVEL. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination has been continuing to experiment with bringing the tools of worldbuilding, speculative design, and remote collaboration into virtual reality with their partners at Origami Air. To preview what has been happening (and more to come!), they invite you to read Origami Air’s inaugural zine, ZEPHYR, here.
As a preview, here is Clarke Center Assistant Director Patrick Coleman’s contribution to the issue:
(8) A TOOL FOR THINKING. “Examples of Applied Sci-Fi: Design Fiction Story Contests, Anthologies, Practitioners, and More” by Kevin Bankston at Medium.
…I organized a session on “Applied Sci-Fi: Science Fiction as Tool, Influence, Warning,” which was a blast — especially considering that such interesting people as Kim Stanley Robinson, one of my very favorite speculative fiction writers, and Tom Kalil, former head of science and technology policy in the Obama administration who used sci-fi as a foresight tool at the White House, chose to show up and participate in the conversation.
The post collects two Twitter threads Bankston wrote about applied sci-fi in 2019.
The first thread is one I was inspired to pull together during the April 2019 We Robot conference at the University of Miami, when Ryan Calo and Stephanie Ballard of the University of Washington’s Tech Policy Lab presented a paper on deploying strategic foresight and design fiction techniques as a tool for thinking about the future of tech policy. In that thread, I collected a wide range of examples of two recent trends in the realm of applied sci-fi: short story contests soliciting sci-fi about “the future of [X],” and relatedly, anthologies of design fiction focused on the future of particular topics or technologies.
The second thread came a month later, when I had the pleasure of visiting the offices of DXLabs in San Francisco, a design consultancy that specializes in using science fiction as a tool for startups to refine their visions of the future. I was motivated to tweet other examples of individuals and companies that specialize in design fiction and sci-fi prototyping — applied sci-fi practitioners, if you will.
(9) UNDERGROUND AND AFTER. “Colson Whitehead: The only writer to win fiction Pulitzers for consecutive works speaks with 60 Minutes” – both the video and a transcript are available at the link.
The club of writers who have won the Pulitzer Prize twice for fiction is small. It contains just four members. The club of those awarded the prize for consecutive novels is even smaller. Colson Whitehead is its only member. He won last year for his novel, “The Nickel Boys,” about the Jim Crow south. In 2017, he won for “The Underground Railroad.” Through historical fiction, he has illuminated the past to tell us something about our present. But his work does not stay in one place. He has written about elevator inspectors, zombie hunters and the World Series of Poker. His next book is a heist novel. One of the other four members of the double-Pulitzer club, John Updike, said of Whitehead’s style: “His writing does what writing should do. It refreshes our sense of the world.”…
John Dickerson: You said at one point with these two books, “I’ve been working in the space of very little hope.” What does that mean?
Colson Whitehead: To create a realistic world, a realistic plantation, a realistic Florida in the South under Jim Crow, it’s bleak and it’s terrible.
John Dickerson: That must be, emotionally, quite difficult.
Colson Whitehead: It is and definitely the last– writing these, these two books back to back about slavery and Jim Crow, was very depleting. It helps that people have shared their stories, whether it’s a former slave or a former student and opened themselves up in that way that gives me permission to try and find my way into their story and put myself in their, in their shoes.
(10) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
- March 6, 1936 — On this date in 1936, the “Income from Immigrants” episode of the Green Hornet radio show originated from WXYZ in Detroit. (It is also called “Ligget’s Citizenship Racket”.) The show was created by Fran Striker & George W. Trendle, and starred Al Hodge as the Green Hornet at this point, and Tokutaro Hayashi who had renamed Raymond Toyo by initial series director James Jewell. You can download the episode here.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born March 6, 1619 – Savinien II de Cyrano de Bergerac. (His grandfather was Savinien I de Cyrano.) His Comical Histories published two years after his death (the States and Empires of the Moon), and seven years after (of the Sun), establish him for us, and a good thing too, since we know very little else. Science fiction cannot claim him: his greatness is with fantasy: no sign of actually considering whether firecrackers could power a Space voyage. (Died 1655) [JH]
- Born March 6, 1918 – Marjii Ellers. Alle Achtung, as Germans say – may I make that “all praise”, Cora Buhlert? – to her widower Frank Ellersieck, for whom our world held no joy, but who from first to last told her “You go, girl!” I knowing Forest’s Barbarella from The Evergreen Review recognized ME’s Black Queen in the L.A.Con (30th Worldcon) Masquerade. Two Worldcons later she was the Queen of Air and Darkness, turning from this – but Bjo (should have a circumflex over the j: “bee-joe”) Trimble cried “Look at her feet! Look at her feet!” – into this. By Westercon 42 she looked like this. She did the walls of two LASFS clubhouse restrooms, without any trouble or fuss, in Star Wars wallpaper. Wrote Thousands of Thursdays for new LASFS visitors. Kind, never condescending; gentle, never weak. Int’l Costumers Guild life achievement award. Big Heart (our highest service award). Our Gracious Host’s appreciation here (PDF; go to p. 9). (Died 1999) [JH]
- Born March 6, 1928 – Gabriel García Márquez. His citation for the Nobel Prize in Literature said that in his “novels and short stories … the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination.” Amen. About his fictional Macondo nine short stories and One Hundred Years of Solitude are available in English; otherwise In Evil Hour and a further score of short pieces; in the year of his death, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and “The Sea of Lost Time”. Wrote for two dozen films, directing one. (Died 2014) [JH]
- Born March 6, 1928 — William F. Nolan, 93. Author of the long running Logan’s Run series (only the first was written with George Clayton Johnson). He started out in fandom in the Fifties publishing several zines including one dedicated to Bradbury. In May 2014, Nolan was presented with another Bram Stoker Award, for Superior Achievement in Nonfiction; this was for his collection about his late friend Ray Bradbury, called Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction. He’s done far too much writing-wise for me to sum it him up. (CE)
- Born March 6, 1930 — Allison Hayes. She was Nancy Fowler Archer, the lead role, in The Attack of The 50 Foot Woman. Her first SF role was the year as Grace Thomas in The Unearthly. She’d be Donna in The Crawling Hand shortly thereafter. She died at age forty seven from the result of injuries sustained from Foxfire, a mid Fifties Western that’s she was in. That she made three SF films while in severe pain is amazing. (Died 1977.) (CE)
- Born March 6, 1942 — Dorothy Hoobler, 79. Author with her husband, Thomas Hoobler, of the Samurai Detective series which is at least genre adjacent. More interestingly, they wrote a biography of Mary Shelley and her family called The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein which sounds absolutely fascinating. Note to ISFDB: no, it’s not a novel. Kindle has everything by them, alas Apple Books has only the biography. (CE)
- Born March 6, 1937 – Edward Ferman, age 84. Editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, succeeding Avram Davidson – what an act to follow! but he did; succeeded in turn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch; publisher 1970-2000. Four Hugos for F&SF during the years we gave Best Prozine; then three more to him as Best Pro Editor; Milford and World Fantasy awards for life achievement; Worldcon Special Committee Award for expanding and improving our field; SF Hall of Fame. See his 20th, 25th, 30th, 40th, and 50th F&SF anniversary anthologies. He and we were clever, lucky, and skillful enough that he’s been acknowledged. [JH]
- Born March 6, 1937 – Valentina Tereshkova, age 84. First woman in Space. Only woman to have been on a solo Space mission. Also youngest (she was 26). Amateur skydiver. Engineer. Teacher. Retired from the Air Force with rank of major general. Two dozen decorations; see them and more here. Indeed a hero. [JH]
- Born March 6, 1957 — Ann VanderMeer, 64. Publisher and editor, and the second female editor of Weird Tales. As Fiction Editor of Weird Tales, she won a Hugo Award. In 2009 Weird Tales, edited by her and Stephen H. Segal, won a Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. She is also the founder of The Silver Web magazine, a periodical devoted to experimental and avant-garde fantasy literature. (CE)
- Born March 6, 1972 – Kirsten Bishop, age 49. One novel, a score of shorter stories, three poems, half a dozen covers: here is The Etched City; here is her collection That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote. Aurealis, Crawford, two Ditmars. Also sculpture. Too bad we couldn’t see the tadpoles. [JH]
- Born March 6, 1979 — Rufus Hound, 42. Ok I’ll admit it was his name that got him here. He also had the good fortune to appear as Sam Swift in “The Woman Who Lived”, easily one of the best Twelfth Doctor stories. He’s also played Toad in the world premiere of the musical, The Wind In The Willows in Plymouth, Salford and Southampton, as written by Julian Fellowes. (CE)
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- How often does B.C. work in a Lucasfilm reference?
(13) BLAST FROM THE PRESENT. In the Washington Post, Travis M. Andrews says if you tweet that you think a piece of the MCU is really well written (as Madison Hatfield did with an episode of “WandaVision”) you’re going to get a lot of praise and a lot of hate from fellow Twitter users. “How a ‘WandaVision’ viral tweet explains the passion of Marvel fans — and haters”.
… So she didn’t think much of it when she posted what she thought was an innocuous tweet to her 800 or so followers, praising a line from Marvel’s latest hit show, “WandaVision.” In one scene, a character suggests to another, “But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
When she heard it, she muttered an expletive under her breath. As both a screenwriter and a casual fan, the line struck her as a standout. “Sometimes you hear a line, and you can tell it would be remembered,” she said.
So on Saturday, intending to poke fun at her “screenwriter self,” she tweeted a photo with the line as the caption, adding, “Do you hear that sound? It’s every screenwriter in the world whispering a reverent ‘F—’ under their breath.” That evening, she went to bed, pleased with the 100 likes it received.
Little did she know that tweet would become a symbol of the almost hyperbolic feelings the MCU inspires online — from both fans and detractors. And how the earnestness of fans of a popular, Disney-controlled product can clash with the cynicism of a place like Twitter.
The next morning, Hatfield’s tweet had 10,000 likes.
“I was excited,” she said. “I thought, ‘People like my joke.’ ” As an added bonus, many people who had experience with grief wrote that it touched them in a personal way.
“Then,” she said, “it took a turn.”
Remember, this is the Internet. Express what others deem as too much excitement for something, and you’re labeled “stupid” and “dumb,” and told you don’t “consume the right kind of art.” Which is what happened.
“Because we all aspire to write bumper stickers,” replied Josh Olson, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of 2005’s “A History of Violence.” (Olson declined to comment for this article.)…
(And seeing that kind of lashing-out reminded me that Josh Olson was a good friend Harlan Ellison’s.)
(14) ROVELLI. The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination podcast Into the Impossible is devoted to conversation with “Carlo Rovelli: Loop Quantum Gravity & The Order of Time”.
Carlo Rovelli (born 3 May 1956) is an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy, the United States and since 2000, in France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory.
He has also worked in the history and philosophy of science. He collaborates with several Italian newspapers, in particular the cultural supplements of the Corriere della Sera, Il Sole 24 Ore and La Repubblica. His popular science book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics has been translated in 41 languages and has sold over a million copies worldwide.
In 2019 he has been included by the Foreign Policy magazine in the list of the 100 most influential global thinkers.
Already a bestseller in Italy, and written with the poetic vitality that made Seven Brief Lessons on Physics so appealing, The Order of Time offers a profoundly intelligent, culturally rich, novel appreciation of the mysteries of time.
(15) CREDIT OVERDUE. Mental Floss says it’s time to pay homage to “19 Unsung Scientists Who Didn’t Get Enough Credit”.
3. ROSALIND FRANKLIN
Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist who specialized in taking photos that could show the molecular structure of various compounds. With this method, her lab photographed DNA, which would be critical for the discovery of its double-helix structure. Three other people—James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins—used Franklin’s findings without her permission. When they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for their collective work in 1962, Franklin was left out of the honors; she had died in 1958.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] In “I Bought The Rights to A Bad Jack Nicholson Movie” on YouTube, Austin McConnell explains how he bought the rights to the Spanish-language version of The Terror, a 1963 Roger Corman movie which began by his trying to recycle the sets in the bigger-budget The Raven but ended up being shot by five directors (including Francis Ford Coppola). McConnell explains he story behind his weird B movie and how he bought the Spanish language rights (it’s in the public domain in English) “just so I could make a dumb video about it.”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]