(1) CRISIS FOR GOLDEN GLOBES. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which has less than 90 member journalists but gives the annual Golden Globes in a well-rated TV ceremony, has come under so much criticism for its lack of diversity, and greed, that a network has backed away from airing next year’s show: “NBC won’t air Golden Globes in 2022 following Times report”. (The report is here – “HFPA faces new scrutiny ahead of Golden Globes 2021”.)
With controversy engulfing the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and major Hollywood players backing away from the embattled organization, NBC announced Monday that it will not air the Golden Globe Awards in 2022.
…The decision comes as influential studios continued to back away from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., with WarnerMedia joining Netflix and Amazon Studios in cutting ties with the organization until sweeping reforms are enacted.
The WarnerMedia letter says in part:
We understand the challenges ahead for you, as we work towards diversifying our own executive and employee ranks. However, we call upon you to move with greater urgency. The currently planned 18-month timeline runs through the 2023 Golden Globes, which means the same voting body will be impacting the next two nomination and voting cycles. The HFPA has a membership of less than 90 journalists. Lasting and meaningful change to your membership goals could be achieved in under 18 months. The HFPA cannot accurately reflect the best of our industry until your membership expands to reflect more of the social, cultural and ethnic diversity that exists in the stories we tell and the creators with whom we work.
We’re also asking for a strong commitment to significant change in talent press conferences. We are keenly aware of how much harder we’ve had to lobby to secure press conferences for a number of Black performers and creators, representing unquestionably worthy content. This same work has often then gone unrecognized in your nomination and awards process. In addition, our teams have endured press conferences where our talent were asked racially insensitive, sexist and homophobic questions. For far too long, demands for perks, special favors and unprofessional requests have been made to our teams and to others across the industry. We regret that as an industry, we have complained, but largely tolerated this behavior until now.
Our talent and our staff deserve a professional environment while doing their jobs promoting our series and films. Therefore, we would also like to see the HFPA implement a specific and enforced code of conduct that includes zero tolerance for unwanted physical contact of all talent and staff. We recognize that this conduct is not representative of your full membership, but we need assurances that there will be timely, actionable next steps to discipline members who exhibit inappropriate behavior.
(2) TED CHIANG Q&A. The New York Times published a transcript of Ezra Klein’s interview of Ted Chiang in March.
…So you sent me this wonderful speech questioning the old Arthur C. Clarke line, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” what don’t you like about that line?
TED CHIANG: So, when people quote the Arthur C. Clarke line, they’re mostly talking about marvelous phenomena, that technology allows us to do things that are incredible and things that, in the past, would have been described as magic, simply because they were marvelous and inexplicable. But one of the defining aspects of technology is that eventually, it becomes cheaper, it becomes available to everybody. So things that were, at one point, restricted to the very few are suddenly available to everybody. Things like television — when television was first invented, yeah, that must have seemed amazing, but now television is not amazing because everyone has one. Radio is not amazing. Computers are not amazing. Everyone has one.
Magic is something which, by its nature, never becomes widely available to everyone. Magic is something that resides in the person and often is an indication that the universe sort of recognizes different classes of people, that there are magic wielders and there are non-magic wielders. That is not how we understand the universe to work nowadays. That reflects a kind of premodern understanding of how the universe worked. But since the Enlightenment, we have moved away from that point of view. And a lot of people miss that way of looking at the world, because we want to believe that things happen to us for a reason, that the things that happen to you are, in some way, tied to the things you did….
(3) AN EMMY FOR GINA CARANO? Here’s a surprising development: Disney+/Lucasfilms have included Gina Carano in their “for your consideration” advertising that promotes their works for the Emmy Awards. Carano was dropped from consideration in future Star Wars properties after she issued a series of tweets that Disney labeled “abhorrent and unacceptable”. The New York Post has the story: “Fired ‘Mandalorian’ star Gina Carano gets Emmy nomination push”.
Three months after Lucasfilm gave “The Mandalorian” star Gina Carano the axe for a series of controversial social-media posts, the company has included her in their 2021 Emmy Awards campaign.
The 39-year-old’s name is listed under the Supporting Actress category in a “for your consideration” poster promoting various Season 2 stars of the Disney+ show, CNET reported. The poster also advocates for lead actor nominations for Pedro Pascal, supporting actor noms for Giancarlo Esposito and Temuera Morrison, and guest actor nods for 18 actors, including Rosario Dawson, John Leguizamo, Mark Hamill and Amy Sedaris.
(4) PENNSYLVANIA LIFTING RESTRICTIONS. And an in-person PulpFest is back on track:
On Tuesday, May 4, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that nearly all COVID-19 mitigation orders—including capacity restrictions on indoor gatherings—will be lifted on Memorial Day.
According to the coronavirus page of the Pennsylvania Department of Health: “Effective May 31, we are lifting COVID mitigation orders, except masking. The masking order will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.”
Pennsylvania’s acting Health Secretary, Alison Beam, encouraged everyone to get vaccinated. “Follow through with both doses if you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and continue to take steps like masking, frequent handwashing and sanitizing, and social distancing,” Beam said.
But that’s not all. There’s more good news to share!
On the same day as Governor Wolf’s announcement, the convention’s host hotel—the DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh – Cranberry —informed PulpFest that the meeting rooms where the convention is scheduled to be held will be available to the convention for the entire weekend.
So as things now stand, PulpFest 2021 will take place from Thursday, August 19, through Sunday, August 22….
(5) INFLUENTIAL MEETING. At CNN, “’United Shades’ imagines the moment ‘Star Trek’s’ Nichelle Nichols met MLK”. (Video.)
After “Star Trek’s” launch, legendary actress Nichelle Nichols considered leaving the series — until an encounter with one of her biggest fans.
(6) OUTLANDISH CLAIMS. [Item by Olav Rokne.] Writing at Collider, Tom Reitman makes an excellent argument in favor of Sean Connery’s movie Outland. He argues that it is a piece of cinema worth reconsidering as an excellent example of how to remake movies. “Why Sean Connery’s Outland Is a Perfect Remake”.
By updating not only the setting of High Noon but also the moral conflict at its center, Outland successfully reinterprets the story for a new generation of moviegoers. Rather than simply redoing the movie with a new cast and modern dialogue and setpieces, Outland took the bones of its predecessor and created a more relatable exploration of the same themes, resulting in a movie that is both a perfect companion piece to High Noon as well as a captivating story that stands on its own.
(7) CAN YOU USE IT FOR PAY TV? Today the Royal Mint made available the John Logie Baird 2021 UK 50p Brilliant Uncirculated Coin. The Queen is on the flip side.
Known the world over as ‘The Father of Television’, John Logie Baird’s contributions to the world of technology cannot be understated.
His groundbreaking exploration into moving images paved the way for a revolutionary invention that changed the world as we know it and his impact
is still being felt to this very day. However, his journey to television was far from easy, and was filled with obstacles and speed bumps along the way.
Find out more about the life and work of this legendary inventor.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born May 10, 1863 — Cornelius Shea. As the authors of SFE put it, “author for the silent screen and author of dime novels (see Dime-Novel SF), prolific in many categories but best remembered for marvel stories using a fairly consistent ‘mythology’ of dwarfs, subterranean eruptions, and stage illusion masquerading as supernatural magic.” To my surprise, only two of his novels are in the Internet Archive, though Complete Mystery Science Stories of Cornelius Shea which includes two of these Novels is available from iBooks and Kobo. (Died 1920.) (CE)
- Born May 10, 1895 — Earl Askam. He played Officer Torch, the captain of Ming the Merciless’s guards, in the 1936 Flash Gordon serial. It’s his only genre appearance though he did have an uncredited role in a Perry Mason film, The Case of Black Cat, which is at least genre adjacent as the defendant is a feline! (Died 1940.) (CE)
- Born May 10, 1899 — Fred Astaire. Genre work includes On The Beach, Finian’s Rainbow and The Man in the Santa Claus Suit. Did a surprising amount of acting for someone who’s Hollywood screen test result was “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances.” (His non-genre 1958 TV special An Evening with Fred Astaire won 11 Emmys, one of them shared by OGH’s father, NBC video engineer Harry Glyer.) (Died 1987.) (CE)
- Born May 10, 1905 – Alex Schomburg. A hundred thirty covers, two hundred sixty interiors – not counting five hundred comic-book covers, although some are ours e.g. The Human Torch. Here is Son of the Stars. Here is the Apr 53 Galaxy. Here is the Oct 61 Fantastic. Here is the Westercon 37 Program Book (designed to look like The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction). Here is the Jan 93 Tomorrow. Here is his endpaper for the Winston SF books, later used by Vincent DiFate for Infinite Worlds. Frank R. Paul Award. Inkpot. Chesley for Artistic Achievement. Special Committee Award for Lifetime Achievement from Noreascon III the 47th Worldcon. First Fandom Hall of Fame. Artbook Chroma (with Jon Gustafson). (Died 1998) [JH]
- Born May 10, 1935 – Terrance Dicks. He had a long association with Doctor Who, working as a writer and also serving as the program’s script editor from 1968 to 1974. He also wrote many of its scripts including The War Games which ended the Second Doctor’s reign and The Five Doctors, produced for the 20th year celebration of the program. He also wrote novelizations of more than sixty of the Doctor Who shows. Yes sixty! Prior to working on this series, he wrote four episodes of The Avengers and after this show he wrote a single episode of Space: 1999 and likewise for Moonbase 3, a very short lived BBC series. (Died 2019.) (CE)
- Born May 10, 1936 – Anthea Bell. Translator from Danish, French, German, e.g. Hans Christian Andersen, Asterix, E.T.A. Hoffmann. Four Schlegel-Tieck Prizes. Three Marsh Awards. Wolff Prize. Earned four Batchelder Awards for three publishers. German Federal Republic’s Cross of Merit. Officer of the Order of the British Empire. (Died 2018) [JH]
- Born May 10, 1944 – Bruce Pennington, age 77. A hundred ninety covers, a score of interiors. Here is Dune. Here is The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Here is The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories. Here is Dreaming Spheres. Two British SF Ass’n Awards. [JH]
- Born May 10, 1955 – Tim Illingworth, age 66. Chaired Eastercon 40 and 44 (combined with Eurocon 16; also SMOFcon 10 the next weekend). Doc Weir Award. [JH]
- Born May 10, 1963 — Rich Moore, 58. He’s directed Wreck-It Ralph and co-directed Zootopia and Ralph Breaks the Internet; he’s has worked on Futurama. It’s not really stretching the definition of genre, so I’ll note that he did the animation for the most excellent Spy vs. Spy series for MADtv. You can see the first one here. (CE)
- Born May 10, 1964 – Pauline Alama, age 57. One novel, a score of shorter stories, poems. “Which part of the label are you questioning – science fiction or romance?” Website. [JH]
- Born May 10, 1969 — John Scalzi, 52. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever read by him. What would I recommend to anyone who hasn’t read him? The Old Man’s War series certainly is fantastic, with Zoe’s Tale bringing tears to my eyes. The Interdependency series is excellent. I really have mixed feelings about Redshirts in that it’s too jokeyfor my taste. I will note that his blog is one of a very few where I read every post. (CE)
- Born May 10, 1975 – Jeremy Zimmerman, age 46. Two novels, a dozen shorter stories. Games. Mad Scientist Journal (with wife Dawn Vogel), six MSJ Presents anthologies. Website. [JH]
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- On The Far Side, somebody must’ve made a wrong turn at Betelgeuse.
(10) GRRM PHD. George R.R. Martin’s alma mater, Northwestern, will present him with an honorary doctorate on June 14.
Come June, I won’t be able to play cards with Nelson Algren any more, I guess.
I am very pleased and proud to announce that my alma mater, Northwestern University, will be presenting me with an honorary doctorate at this year’s commencement, on June 14…
This year’s commencement will be virtual, so the presentation and my acceptance will be taped.
It is hard to believe that it has been half a century since my own commencement from Northwestern, in 1970. Where have the years gone?
If I could go back in time and tell 1970 Me that this would happen one day, he would never have believed me. (On the other hand, 1970 Me believed that one day he would vacation on the Moon, so… he may have written science fiction, but predicting the future was not his strong suit).
Northwestern’s announcement is part of this post: “Alum Gwynne Shotwell, president and COO of SpaceX, will address the Class of 2021”.
(11) BRIN INTERVIEW. At the Odyssey Writing Workshop Blog Guest Lecturer David Brin answers questions about his drafting process:
You’ve written a number of stories in the Uplift universe, which is a science fiction series about biological uplift. How much planning for the series did you do ahead of time? Do you tend to be more of an outliner, or do you tend to write by the seat of your pants?
I’ve written two novels from strict outline and that went very well. Why do I do it so seldom, then? Starting a novel is hard for me because I don’t know the characters yet and I haven’t yet had multiple “aha!” moments when I discover what the story is really about. I end books really, really well. For more on the great idea of uplift, which could be done very badly and likely has already begun, see http://www.davidbrin.com/uplift.html.
(12) ELECTRIC SUIT. In the Washington Post, Dalvin Brown surveys efforts to add technology to clothes, including clothes that can make phone calls, warm you in the winter and cool you in the summer. “Nextiles, Apple, Samsung envision future where people wear high-tech clothes”.
… What if your shirt could sense that you’re sweating and adjust its temperature? Or what if your pants could notice that your stride has changed and alert you at the onset of injuries? That’s what the future may hold, textile researchers say. It might be years, possibly even decades, for the tech to reach consumers, but the foundation is being laid today with scientists creating pieces of fabric that push the boundaries of what’s been possible before.
In March, researchers from China’s Fudan University published findings on electronic fabric capable of turning clothing into a display screen. They hope to turn their attention to the consumer market next, according to Qibing Pei, a materials scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles who co-authored the study….
(13) HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGECOIN IN THE WINDOW? CNBC reports “SpaceX accepts Dogecoin as payment to launch ‘DOGE-1 mission to the Moon’ next year”.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX will launch the “DOGE-1 Mission to the Moon” in the first quarter of 2022, with the company accepting the meme-inspired cryptocurrency as full payment for the lunar payload.
Geometric Energy Corporation announced the dogecoin-funded mission on Sunday, which SpaceX’s communications team confirmed in an email to reporters. The mission’s financial value was not disclosed.
DOGE-1 will fly a 40 kilogram cube satellite as a payload on a Falcon 9 rocket, with Geometric Energy Corporation saying its payload “will obtain lunar-spatial intelligence from sensors and cameras on-board with integrated communications and computational systems.”
SpaceX vice president of commercial sales Tom Ochinero said in a statement that DOGE-1 “will demonstrate the application of cryptocurrency beyond Earth orbit and set the foundation for interplanetary commerce.”…
(14) LOOKS LIKE THE FUTURE. Atlas Obscura takes you to “The Real-World Locations of 14 Sci-Fi Dystopias” (a 2014 post).
Logan’s Run (1976)
Fort Worth, Texas
Dallas and Fort Worth hosted the 1976 dystopian film Logan’s Run. Several scenes were filmed in the Dallas Market Center, a shopping mall standing in for “The City,” an underground complex whose residents believe is the only safe place left on Earth. Another mall, the Hulen Mall in Fort Worth, was just completing construction during filming and was also used for some scenes.
(15) 60 MINUTES ON MARS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes had a segment about Perserverance and Ingenuity. What makes this interesting is that JPL let them have test footage of Ingenuity showing how complicated the helicopter is based on early models that crashed. This reminds us of how complex an achievement the new Mars mission is. There is extra footage on 60 Minutes Overtime. “Perseverance rover, Ingenuity helicopter, and the search for ancient life on Mars”.
(16) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Pitch Meeting” on ScreenRant, the screenwriter explains that this Transformers movie has nothing to do with earlier ones because he trashed his DVD player by sticking a bagel in it and trying to toast the bagel by throwing the DVD player in the oven. Also, many pages of the script simply say, ‘EXPLOSIONS.”
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Lise Andreasen, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Olav Rokne, John Hertz, Rob Thornton, Dann, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]