(1) CLARKE AWARD SHORTLIST COMING APRIL 27. Call it your palate cleanser after the Hugo nominations come out on April 26.
Arthur C. Clarke Award Director Tom Hunter says:
That’s right, this Wednesday 113 books becomes a shortlist of 6, and if you fancy one last try at second-guessing our judges you can check out the complete submissions list here…
This year I’m delighted to be announcing our shortlist at the opening night of The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film, aka SCI-FI-LONDON, which runs from Wednesday 27 April to Friday 6 May and you absolutely should make sure to go check out some of their programme.
The Clarke announcement will be livestreamed via Periscope — https://www.periscope.tv/clarkeaward (however, the time is not listed.)
Hunter is also giving readers a chance to win copies of the six finalists:
Want to take your own best guess at this year’s shortlist? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org before we announce on Wednesday and if you guess correctly, or closest, you could win all six books!
RULES: You must guess six books, no more no less, and provide a short reason behind your guess. Your reasoning is your own, it can be your personal favourite six, the six you think most likely, an utterly random guess or six authors who happen to have the letters ACC in their names. We don’t mind how you choose, we’re just curious to know why.
(2) RAF CLUB EXHIBITION ENDING. You have one more day to see Keith Burns’ exhibit at the Royal Air Force Club, in Piccadilly, London. It closes April 24.
James Bacon, whose review will be appearing at the Forbidden Planet website, says this is an opportunity not to be missed:
I was incredibly impressed, this was a fabulous selection of work, in such poignant and salubrious surroundings, I can only encourage fans of aviation art, and war comics to get in as promptly as possible to see this exhibition. The artwork is all priced and very keenly so, and both originals and some framed prints are available.
(3) JAMES H. BURNS ON TV. Frequent File 770 columnist James H. Burns says, “To my surprise, I was on the local CBS New York news this evening, commenting on the most tragic of events…”
He appears in the news video at about 1:27.
(4) BEETLEJUICE. A Tim Burton-themed bar is opening on East 6th Street in new York City, but Andrew Porter says, “Personally, I’ll take Jekyll & Hyde, and The Slaughtered Lamb, in the West Village.”
In the weeks ahead, Beetle House — “with an atmosphere and menu inspired by the works of Tim Burton” — is opening at 308 E. Sixth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. The bar will feature drinks such as:
- Beetlejuice – Muddled blackberry and limes, Tequila, Blackberry schnapps, Angostura bitters, splash of cranberry. $14
- Edward’s lemonadee – Old fashioned with Orange bitters $12
- The headless horseman – Hendricks Gin, Lillet blanc, Cointreau, dash of absinthe, fresh lemon juice. Garnished with an orange peel. $16
- Chocolate factory martini – Vanilla vodka, Dorda chocolate liqueur, cream, creme de cocoa. Garnished with a chocolate bar. $14
You can check out the rest of the drinks and food menu at the Beetle House website. (You may text them for a preview invite.)
(5) WHEEL OF TIME. Harriet McDougal made a “very mysterious” announcement this evening at JordanCon. She has instructed his fans to check Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time Google+ page or Dragonmount on Wednesday for information regarding the future of The Wheel of Time.
(6) WORLD BOOK DAY. April 23 is World Book and Copyright Day, paying tribute to authors and books and their social and cultural contribution to the world. The yearly event is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- April 23, 1616 — William Shakespeare died. Mentioned here because he has ghosts in some of his plays, you know….
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOYS
- Born April 23, 1923 – SF writer Avram Davidson. Tachyon Publications posted a summary of his career.
Born on April 23, 1923, Avram Davidson was a medic in the Marine Corps during World War II, fought with the Israeli Army in the 1948 war for independence, and began writing in the early 1950s as a Talmudic scholar. He eventually wrote nineteen published novels and more than two hundred short stories and essays including THE PHOENIX IN THE MIRROR, CLASH OF STAR-KINGS, THE ISLAND UNDER THE EARTH, ROGUE DRAGON, URSUS OF ULTIMA THULE, and THE BOSS IN THE WALL (with Grania Davis). He edited THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION from 1962 to 1964. His works garnered Davidson two Hugo, two World Fantasy, and an Edgar award. In 1986, he was given the prestigious World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.
- Born April 23, 1935 – Tom Doherty. The centerpiece of Patrick Nielsen Hayden’s tribute to the Tor publisher (first posted in 2013) is an anecdote from the first Kansas City Worldcon:
…Then in the early 1970s he jumped at the opportunity to become publisher of a mass-market paperback line called Tempo Books. In almost no time he was publisher, not only of Tempo, but also of the venerable SF imprint Ace Books, which had gone through multiple owners and a rough several years in the early 1970s.
As it happens, the Ace that Tom inherited had some unresolved business problems and some unpaid debts. Tom tells the story of his first World Science Fiction Convention, in Kansas City in 1976. On entering the storied Muehlebach Hotel, he was confronted by a prominent SF author well-known for his, shall we say, forceful manner of speaking. “I’m with the Science Fiction Writers of America,” declared this writer, in a voice that shook potted plants thirty feet away. “And we are going to Audit. Your. Books.”
The background buzz of multiple conversations came to a sudden stop. “There he is!” Tom could hear a fan saying. “There’s that new publisher who’s trying to screw over Andre Norton!”
As Tom tells it, he spent about five seconds convinced that he was going to be lynched…and then walked over to the author in question, put his arm on his shoulder, and suggested they discuss the matter over a drink. In not very much time, Ace’s business problems were sorted out, and in the late 1970s it re-established itself as one of the leading imprints in the field….
- Born April 23, 1939 — The Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors.
(9) THAT DARNED DEMOCRACY THING. Ian Sales assures us the Wrong Things have already been nominated for the Hugos, in “An honest vote is a wasted vote”. Well, I’m afraid you don’t need to be Cassandra to predict that in 2016. But he means as a general rule.
Assuming most voters have only read a small portion of the eligible works, and that portion is likely different for everyone, then lots of works will get only a handful of votes each (this is more the case with short fiction categories rather than novels, of course). Which does sort of render the whole award pointless.
Assume instead that people vote for works not simply because – perhaps not even because – it was the work they thought best of those published in the preceding year. Perhaps they vote for a work because:
- people they trust have told them the work is award-worthy
- they’ve liked other things written by the person, if not this particular work
- they like the writer (or their blog, etc)
- they think the writer deserves an award (for any number of reasons)
- the writer is a friend
- the writer has helped them in their own writing career
Perhaps I’m being unfair, perhaps people really do vote for the story or book they think the best of the year (seriously, wtf? Redshirts was a better novel than 2312?). But I think people vote tactically, either consciously or unconsciously. If they’re part of a writer’s informal support network or fandom, then they’ll likely vote for that writer. If they hear lots of buzz about a particular work, they might well vote for that if they’re short on their ballot.
(10) EXPANDED UNIVERSE. Chuck Wendig penned “An Open Letter To The ‘Bring Back Legends’ Star Wars Fans”.
…The Final Caveat
Many of you are nice and passionate. Thanks for being fans — if not of mine or my work, then of Star Wars in general. It’s a universe under a big, big tent. That’s a good thing.
Sometimes, though, in fandom, passion becomes tainted — shot through with the sepsis of frustration. And further, sometimes fandom attracts people who are, mmm, maybe not the finest specimens of humanity, and when that happens, harassment occurs. As it has occurred amongst the Bring Back Legends movement.
You need to get your house in order.
What I mean is, harassment is not a good way to get what you want. It is, in fact, a very good way to be dismissed. It is a great way to be seen as bullies. And nobody wants to give you more Legends if the way you get it has been by protracted campaigns of harassment or even by rogue members of your campaigns and Facebook groups demonstrating very bad behavior. Some other fans who operate fansites have felt harassed and bullied (for instance: this post at Tosche Station). I’ve seen it in person. I’ve seen it online. I’ve seen what happens at the Star Wars Books public Facebook page (and whoever runs that page has the patience of the saint and is hopefully paid a merciful six figures). Threats to spoil The Force Awakens came out of an Expanded Universe group. This is not unknown. It is real.
I know I’ve been on the end of harassment — not just for the content of Aftermath but sometimes because I am somehow held responsible for having ended the EU, or because I’m not Timothy Zahn or because I supposedly hate Legends, or, or, or. I get emails….
(11) THERE’S NO PLEASING SOME PEOPLE.
I love this so much. pic.twitter.com/dM7rQf5yC7
— TJ Fixman (@TJFixman) April 7, 2016
(12) BEST PLACES TO BUY COMICS. Here’s another best-of list to quarrel about – “10 Best Comic Book Stores in the US” at Another Spur on the Road.
Chicago, IL – Quimby’s Bookstore
An independent bookstore in Chicago’s Wicker Park, Quimby’s is more for those with a taste for the avant garde. They specialize in underground comics, unusual publications and independent zines. If your teen is tired of the usual superhero in spandex tale and is looking for less mainstream reads, this bookstore is definitely a necessary stop while in the Windy City. (1854 W. North Ave, 773-342-0910)
(13) COLLECTIBLES. AbeBooks has posted its top 10 list of expensive sales from the first three months of 2016. A trio of genre figures are on the list.
2. The Works of HG Wells $20,792 Published in New York by Charles Scribner’s Sons in 1924-27. Twenty eight volumes bound in brown half morocco. Number 524 of 1,050 copies signed by the author on the limitation leaf of volume I.
7. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien – $8,069 Christopher Lee’s personal copies of Tolkien’s famous books. Lee, who died in 2015, played Saruman in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy and was the only member of the production to have met Tolkien. The Fellowship of the Ring is a 4th impression from November 1955. The Return of the King is a first edition, first impression from 1955, and The Two Towers is a second impression from 1955. Lee had signed all three books. There was also a loosely inserted page of notes on hotel notepaper. They appear to be notes to himself (‘House of Eorl in wrong place?’ ‘Gimli – Jammy Sod/ Don’t give a Toss’ etc.) about the making of the Lord of the Rings film and mention Saruman, Gandalf, Gimli and Tolkien. Lee had a long and distinguished acting career before working on Jackson’s films. He starred as Dracula in the Hammer Horror films and was also a Bond villain in The Man with the Golden Gun. Sold by Any Amount of Books from London.
8 [tie]. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke – $7,500 A 1968 first edition, signed and inscribed by the author to Robert O’Brien, then president of MGM, the producer of the film of the book directed by Stanley Kubrick. “To Bob O’Brien, With many thanks and my appreciation of his support. Arthur C. Clarke. 28 May ’68.” O’Brien gave the go-ahead for the production of the film. The book was published after the release of the movie, which premiered on April 4, 1968. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, and won for best visual effects.
(14) READ THIS. Rachel Swirsky has a story to recommend — “Friday Read! ‘The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees’ by E. Lily Yu”.
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu is one of the most gorgeous, surprising and strange stories I’ve ever read. Some stories just seem to wing free of convention, to follow an unexpected trail to something excitingly new.
(15) AMERICAN GODS. Shelf Awareness reported that Starz has “rounded out the cast of American Gods,” the 10-episode series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel. Deadline reported that the new cast members include Cloris Leachman, Peter Stormare, Chris Obi and Mousa Kraish. They join Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Sean Harris, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley, Crispin Glover and Jonathan Tucker. Shooting began this week in Toronto, and will continue in various locations across the U.S.
(16) MAGIC CARPET RIDE. BBC investigates “What’s the best (and cheapest) way to take a trip to space?”. Several speculative ventures already have long queues for <=1% of the cost of an ISS ride.
Bored of beaches, cruises, ancient cities and great works of art? Does the thought of another week in a high-end spa, on a private island or luxury yacht fill you with world-weary ennui?
Then a trip to space is for you. After a number of delays and setbacks, several companies are edging closer to offering voyages into space. All you need is money (lots and lots of money), a healthy approach to risk and a little patience.
But which space tourism provider to choose? In the absence of a cosmic version of Tripadvisor, we rated the various options, according to cost, ‘wow factor’ and more….
(17) THERE’S A CASE TO BE MADE. Catherynne Valente began to suspect when she heard the internet cough up a furball.
I choose to believe 90% of the content on Reddit is produced by malevolent cats.
— Catherynne Valente (@catvalente) April 23, 2016
(18) ON THE GROUNDS. It’s not too late to act in a coffee commercial with Boris Karloff!
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Hampus Eckerman, Chip Hitchcock, Michael J. Walsh, Lauowolf, Erin DeSimone, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]