(1) ORIGIN STORY. Rudy Rucker posted drafts of two presentations he’s giving at the IOHK Summit in Miami Beach on April 18. The first is — “Cyberpunk Use Cases”.
…My best-known novel is Software, written in 1980. It was one of the earliest cyberpunk novels. The idea behind Software seems simple now.
- It should be possible to extract the patterns stored in a person’s brain,
and transfer these onto a computer or a robot.
You’ve seen this scenario hundred movies and TV shows, right? But I was the first one to write about it. In 1980, “soul as software” was an unheard of thought. Hardly anyone even knew the word “software.”
To make my Software especially punk, I made the brain-to-software transfer very gnarly. A gang of scary-funny hillbillies extracted people’s mental software by slicing off the tops of their skulls and eating their brains with cheap steel spoons. One of the hillbillies was a robot in disguise, and his stomach analyzed the brain tissue. Did I mention that I grew up in Kentucky?
(2) BAG ORDINANCE. The Anime News Network posted a wise suggestion “Anime Boston Attendees Remember to BYOB: Bring Your Own Bags”. (Via Petréa Mitchell.)
If you’re heading out to the Anime Boston convention this weekend with the intention of picking up merchandise and art prints from the Dealer’s Hall and Artist Alley, you could run into some trouble if you don’t have reusable bags handy.
Artist Alley and Dealer’s Hall merchants were caught off guard on Monday after convention staff alerted them that the only permissible types of bags must be reusable, recyclable, or compostable with handles. The restriction is due to an ordinance that went in effect in Boston on December 14, 2018. Plastic bags with handles are not allowed and retailers are required to charge customers an additional US$.05 per bag unless the customer brings their own.
(3) HISTORIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Eugene Grant reminds people of Judy-Lynn Del Rey’s impact on the field of sff. Thread starts here.
(4) EVERMORE PARK. The summer opening of the “Mythos” theme adventure at Evermore Park in Utah is tentatively scheduled for May 29, says David Doering, “though this could slip.”
An enchanted festival of fantasy and magic, celebrating the wondrous grace of dragons. Coming Summer 2019.
(5) WOLFE’S BEGINNINGS. The Guardian’s Alison Flood added her tribute to the late author: “Gene Wolfe, ‘magnificent’ giant of science fiction, dies aged 87”.
…When he was named a grand master of science fiction and fantasy by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 2012, Wolfe recalled living “paycheck to paycheck” with his wife Rosemary and children, and getting three “not terribly good” stories published in a college magazine.
“Then it was time for school to start again, and Rosemary began badgering me for money for school clothes,” he said. “Another story, Car Sinister, sold, and instead of depositing the check I got the manager of the hardware store to cash it for me. I took it to Rosemary: ‘Here’s every dime I got for that story. That’s how much you have for school clothes.’ A few days passed, and I was sitting on the kitchen floor trying to mend a chair. Rosemary came up behind me and said, ‘Shouldn’t you be writing?’ That’s when I knew I was a writer.”
(6) COLE OBIT. Noted sff writer Allan Cole died March 29 reports the SFWA Blog.
Allan Cole, international best-selling author, screenwriter and former prize-winning newsman, died March 29, 2019, of cancer in Boca Raton, FL. He was 75.
Cole was probably best known for the Sten science fiction series, which he co-authored with his late partner Chris Bunch, as well as the critically acclaimed Vietnam novel “A Reckoning for Kings” about the Tet Offensive of 1968.
(7) GARRIOTT OBIT. “My home town astronaut died,” wrote John A Arkansawyer. “My first job was at an all-night gas station on Owen K. Garriott Road (formerly Market). I never met him, but I benefited from his presence in our small city. My kid and my kid’s mom and I went back for a visit the summer after my dad died and spent a great day here: Leonardo’s – Interactive Children’s Museum in Enid, OK. He and his former wife founded it and it’s still going strong.
Dr. Owen K. Garriott, scientist/astronaut, died April 15: “Enid-born astronaut Owen K. Garriott dies at age 88”.
Garriott’s initial space flight on Skylab 3 was from July 28 to Sept. 25, 1973, according to OHS. On this mission, he and his two crewmates conducted major experiments in science and medicine for a total of 1,427 hours in space. In three separate space walks outside the Skylab, Garriott spent 13 hours and 43 minutes.
Helen Walker Garriott, co-founder of Leonardo’s Children’s Museum, died in 2017.
His son, Richard Garriott, was also an astronaut (he made a pot of money on video games and bought a ticket), and they were the only father-son pair to fly to space (so far).
(8) REED OBIT. Les Reed wrote several Top-40 hits. And at least one genre tune —
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born April 16, 1917 — William “Billy” Benedict. Singled out for Birthday Honours as he was Whitey Murphy in Adventures of Captain Marvel. Yes, that Captain Marvel. Back in 1942, it was a 12-chapter black-and-white movie serial from Republic Pictures based off the Fawcett Comics strip. (Died 1999.)
- Born April 16, 1921 — Peter Ustinov. He had a number of genre appearances such as being in Blackbeard’s Ghost as Captain Blackbeard, in the animated Robin Hood by voicing both Prince John and King Richard, as simply The Old Man In Logan’s Run, Truck Driver In The Great Muppet Caper, and in Alice in Wonderland as The Walrus. (Died 2004.)
- Born April 16, 1922 — John Christopher. Author of The Tripods, an alien invasion series which was adapted into both a radio and television series. He wrote a lot of genre fiction including the Fireball series in which Rome never fell, and The Death of Grass which I mention because it was one of the many YA post-apocalyptic novels that he wrote in the Fifties and Sixties that sold extremely well in the U.K. (Died 2012.)
- Born April 16, 1922 — Kingsley Amis. So have you read The Green Man? I’m still not convinced that anything actually happened, or that everything including the hauntings were in Maurice Allington’s decayed brain. I’m not seeing that he did much else for genre work but he did write Colonel Sun: a James Bond Adventure under the pseudonym of Robert Markham and his New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction published in the late Fifties, he shares his views on the genre and makes some predictions as there’ll never be a SF series on the boob tube. (Died 1995.)
- Born April 16, 1954 — Ellen Barkin, 65. She played Penny Priddy in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a film that should neither get remade nor get sequels, both of which have been proposed. And to my knowledge, her only genre credits are Into the West as Kathleen, and in The Cobbler as Elaine Greenawalt.
- Born April 16, 1962 — Kathryn Cramer, 57. Writer, editor, and literary critic. She co-founded The New York Review of Science Fiction in 1988 with David G. Hartwell and others, and was its co-editor until 1991 and again since 1996. She edited with her husband David G. Hartwell Year’s Best Fantasy one through nine and Year’s Best SF seven through thirteen with as well.
- Born April 16, 1975 — Sean Maher, 44. Doctor Simon Tam In the Firefly verse. And Dick Grayson (Nightwing) in a staggering number of animated DAC films, to wit Son of Batman, Batman vs. Robin, Batman: Bad Blood, Justice League vs. Teen Titans, Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and Batman: Hush. He showed up on Arrow as Shrapnel in the “Blast Radius” and “Suicide Squad” episodes.
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- A Problem Like Jamal thinks this is no Jokering matter.
(11) THE ROLLING STONES. Not just the stones, the builders also traveled — “Stonehenge: DNA reveals origin of builders”. Yes, technically everyone traveled over long-enough time — but they’ve found that Stonehenge was built by relatively recent arrivals.
The ancestors of the people who built Stonehenge travelled west across the Mediterranean before reaching Britain, a study has shown.
Researchers compared DNA extracted from Neolithic human remains found across Britain with that of people alive at the same time in Europe.
The Neolithic inhabitants appear to have travelled from Anatolia (modern Turkey) to Iberia before winding their way north.
They reached Britain in about 4,000BC.
Details have been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The migration to Britain was just one part of a general, massive expansion of people out of Anatolia in 6,000BC that introduced farming to Europe.
Before that, Europe was populated by small, travelling groups which hunted animals and gathered wild plants and shellfish.
Here a link to the original paper in Nature.
The roles of migration, admixture and acculturation in the European transition to farming have been debated for over 100?years. Genome-wide ancient DNA studies indicate predominantly Aegean ancestry for continental Neolithic farmers, but also variable admixture with local Mesolithic hunter-gatherers. Neolithic cultures first appear in Britain circa 4000?bc, a millennium after they appeared in adjacent areas of continental Europe….
(12) UNDER THE HAMMER. Here are a couple of the interesting lots in Heritage Auctions’ April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction.
(13) SFF MOVIE COLLECTIBLES. And Bonhams is running the “TCM Presents … Wonders of the Galaxy: Science Fiction and Fantasy in Film” auction on May 14 in Los Angeles. The catalog is here.
They expect this poster from the 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame movie to go for $150,000-$200,000.
(14) CATTY REMARKS. Timothy the Talking Cat resumes his autobiography in “Beyond the Bounds of Genius: Chapter 2”.
Chapter 2: Tim Cat’s Schooldays
Bortsworth Grammar School for the Boys With Fathers Off in the Colonies was an august institution but was also open in other months. For two hundred years it had taught the male offspring of the British Empire’s far flung civil servants. The school specialised in latin, bullying, it’s own idiosyncratic form of Rugby football and petty tyranny and often all four at the same time.
I boarded the school train at Bortsworth Station and immediately got off again as it had reached its destination….
(15) FLAVOR LOST IN SPACE. From Behind a paywall at The Week comes this item:
An Englishman launched a Big Mac hamburger into the stratosphere using a weather balloon–then ate the ‘spaceburger’ upon its return to the ground. Thomas Stanniland said he accomplished the feat with the aid of four canisters of helium, a GoPro camera, a GPS tracker, a polystyrene box, and superglue. After the balloon popped and the burger floated back,he recovered it. ‘It’s been outside, so it’s been a bit crumbly,’ he said after taking a bite. Overall, he described the taste as ‘not nice.'”
(16) THE PROBLEM OF PAIN. That’s a reference I thought of when someone told me the next episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is titled “The Eggplant, The Witch & The Wardrobe Trailer.”
(17) HUSKY ROBOTS. Boston Dynamics puts a bunch of their “SpotMini” robot “dogs” together in harness to pull a BD truck… Gizmodo has the story: “These Robodogs Are Even Scarier When They Start Working In a Pack”.
That sound, that sound, as they come marching.
When it’s not frightening the world with videos of back-flipping cyborg supersoldiers, Boston Dynamics likes to have a bit of fun with their robotic creations. Presumably inspired by last month’s Iditarod, the company strapped ten of its SpotMini robots together but instead of pulling a sled, these robo-pups have enough strength to pull a massive diesel truck. Did I say fun? I meant terror-inducing.
That last linked phrase is to a YouTube video:
It only takes 10 Spotpower (SP) to haul a truck across the Boston Dynamics parking lot (~1 degree uphill, truck in neutral). These Spot robots are coming off the production line now and will be available for a range of applications soon. For more information visit us at www.BostonDynamics.com/Spot.
[Thanks to David Doering, Avilyn, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Bill, Steve Green, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, Daniel Dern, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Scott Edelman, Martin Morse Wooster, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]