(1) NEBULA LIVESTREAM. You can see it on SFWA’s YouTube channel at 8:00 p.m. Pacific.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are presenting the 2018 Nebula Awards for excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing, live from the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA.
(2) NEW OWNERSHIP. Have you ever rescued something a neighbor put out in the yard? The Toronto Globe and Mail has a story to share: “Starship Enterprise replica seeks new life, new civilization with new Toronto owner”.
The Starship Enterprise has travelled far and wide throughout the galaxy, encountering countless civilizations — and now it is sitting in a garage in eastern Toronto.
…Bill Doern, a 51-year-old who runs a boutique public relations and marketing firm in Toronto, watched reruns of the original Star Trek television series as a boy. His favourite character is Spock. His favourite captain is Picard. When his wife was pregnant with their first child, he hoped to name the boy Mr. Sulu (they ended up naming him Elijah).
Mr. Doern is, in other words, about as much of a Trekkie as a Trekkie can be.
The Saturday before Mother’s Day, he was driving home from doing some grocery shopping when he saw a scale replica of the Enterprise NCC-1701-A, last seen in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, released in 1991, on a neighbour’s front lawn.
Mr. Doern stopped to get a picture of the ship, which is about as big as a small car. As he was snapping a pic, the homeowner came out with a “For sale” sign.
(3) ARTIFICIAL OBSTREPOROUSNESS. Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson has a lot of fun foretelling “The Coming of the Fanbots”.
…It should come as no surprise then that a joint team comprised of members of MIT’s Media Lab (Artificial Intelligence Division) and Hanson Robotics was recently formed to address the need for Fanbots – electronic replacements for geeks and nerds.
“This project actually began in Hollywood”, said Dr. Calvin, Chief Administrator for the project. “Studio heads approached us a few years ago and asked us to blue-sky a response to the negativity that was surrounding, among other things, Disney’s evisceration of the Star Wars extended universe, not to mention Paramount’s problems with Star Trek fan films, the on-going complaints about Fox’s cancellation of Firefly, the regular eruption of re-make hysteria, the encroachment of real world politics into entertainment.”
Calvin went on to explain that the studios were expressing grave concern over the reliability of fans, and concern over the increasing sense of “ownership” fans were expressing regarding favored properties. One director stated that he was “sick and tired of being told what prior works he had stolen his ideas from; another expressed dismay over fan’s insistence that some degree of logicality accompany the plots of entirely fictional characters; marketing division heads complained about the complete and utter unreliability of fan audiences who seemed to select favorites and stinkers in an entirely arbitrary and fickle manner.”…
(4) FIRST UNMEN IN THE MOON. Print covers the release of “Robert Grossman’s Moon Walk”.
Three years before he died last year, the brilliant caricaturist, illustrator, animator and comic strip artist, Robert Grossman completed his as-of-then unpublished magnum opus, a decade long passion titled Life On The Moon: A Completely Illustrated Novel (Yoe Books). Grossman prided himself on illustrating “the un-illustratable” — an historical graphic novel based on the “Great Moon Hoax,” the most successful fake news story ever published.
Robert Grossman and the Moon
In 1835, The New York Sun published a series of six articles declaring the discovery of life–and advanced civilization–on the moon, which the newspaper attributed to the famous contemporary astronomer Sir John Herschel. According to the Sun, the lunar inhabitants included unicorns, bison, bipedal tail-less beavers, and intelligent humanoids with bat-like wings.
(5) SCOFFER. Karen Yossman gives a right-wing take on the various controversies in YA publishing at Spectator: “Writers blocked: Even fantasy fiction is now offensive”.
…Nor is the contagion confined to American authors. Last month John Boyne, best known for the Holocaust novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, received such a barrage of abuse prior to the publication of his latest book, My Brother’s Name Is Jessica, which features a transgender central character, that he was briefly forced off Twitter. Critics labelled the book ‘transphobic’, suggesting that because Boyne is not transgender the story ‘lacked authenticity’ and its title ‘misgendered’ the fictional protagonist.
At almost the same moment that Boyne was deleting his Twitter account, Lincolnshire-based Zoe Marriott, a prolific writer of YA fiction, was also being hounded on the site over her new fantasy novel, The Hand, the Eye and the Heart, because it’s set in ‘fairy-tale China’. One prominent YA blogger warned: ‘White authors need to stay the hell away from the stories of people of color.’ Curiously, said blogger’s day job involves manning the tills at Foyles, one of London’s most revered bookshops — pity the poor sod who dares trouble her for a copy of Othello, or Tolkien for that matter. The father of fantasy fiction has come in for criticism for his portrayal of orcs in The Lord of the Rings. Some feel his work is ‘racialized’. And what’s a sensitive young bookseller to do if a young customer requests a C.S. Lewis, whose Narnia books were branded ‘blatantly racist’ and misogynistic by fellow fantasy author Philip Pullman? Pullman has since been labelled ‘transphobic’ himself after tweeting in October that he was ‘finding the trans argument impossible to follow’.
(6) FELDGRAU DISCOURAGED. Unsurprisingly, Bounding Into Comics needles this new policy: “Anime NYC Institutes Ban on Cosplays of ‘Fictitious Nazis or Nazi-Like Organizations’”
…Though the rule in question specifically targets the promotion or display of “fictitious Nazis or Nazi-like organizations,” Anime NYC has been highly inconsistent in its application of the rule. Tanya the Evil, a series specifically noted in the rules, features allusions to aspects of World War II (such as the appearance of the World War II-era MP40 submachine guns or a character based on Werner Von Braun) but is entirely set in a fictional country based heavily on World War I-era Europe.
Furthermore, in a move deemed hypocritical by some fans, the close professional partnership between LeftField Media and Crunchyroll led to Anime NYC promoting a special screening of The Saga of Tanya the Evil – the Movie:…
(7) THE SCIENTIFIC ANSWER. Readers can discover “The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones” at Scientific American.
… The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn goes way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.
At its best, GOT was a beast as rare as a friendly dragon in King’s Landing: it was sociological and institutional storytelling in a medium dominated by the psychological and the individual. This structural storytelling era of the show lasted through the seasons when it was based on the novels by George R. R. Martin, who seemed to specialize in having characters evolve in response to the broader institutional settings, incentives and norms that surround them.
After the show ran ahead of the novels, however, it was taken over by powerful Hollywood showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. Some fans and critics have been assuming that the duo changed the narrative to fit Hollywood tropes or to speed things up, but that’s unlikely. In fact, they probably stuck to the narrative points that were given to them, if only in outline form, by the original author. What they did is something different, but in many ways more fundamental: Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That’s the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories….
We’re pleased to see that an inter-city bus carrier has begun to sell tickets for intercity bus service Reno-Tonopah-Las Vegas-Phoenix, starting July 3, 2019. This should give people traveling to Tonopah by air to Reno or Las Vegas an additional way of getting to Tonopah without having to rent a vehicle or group with other people doing so.
The good feeling only lasted until Lenore Jones told Filers what she read in Streamliner’s “contract of carriage”, a document with many remarkable restrictions, such as:
Prohibition of Social Justice Warriors
Due to attempted vandalism, Social Justice Warriors may not travel on Streamliner. Social Justice Warriors include:
- Persons self-proclaiming to be “Social Justice Warriors” or “SJWs”.
- Persons supporting California regulations prohibiting or restricting Streamliner operations.
- Persons supporting boycotts, sabotage, agitation, protests, and terrorism against Streamliner.
(9) SMITH OBIT. Artist Dennis Neal Smith, chair of the first WesterCon in San Diego in 1966, has died reports Greg Bear.
Fond farewell to Dennis Neal Smith, famous for many things, and scholar of many things, who inspired Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” with his richly textured illustrations, and who illustrated my first story collection for Arkham House, as well as Joanna Russ’ collection.
Jackie Estrada says Smith died of cancer:
But his biggest claim to fame was his artwork. Harlan Ellison based several of his short stories on drawings by Dennis, including “Bright Eyes,” “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” and “Delusions for a Dragonslayer.” He also did the art for the first progress report for the 1972 San Diego Comic-Con and served on the committee back then.
The 1966 San Diego Westercon hotel inspired Poul Anderson to write the immortal filk “Bouncing Potatoes”.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY
May 18, 1962 — The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” based on a story by Ray Bradbury.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born May 18, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series. Some are outstanding, some less so. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think read is The Holmes-Dracula File which is superb. And I know I’ve read most of the Swords tales as they came out. (Died 2007.)
- Born May 18, 1934 — Elizabeth Rogers. Trek geeking time. She had two roles in the series. She provided the uncredited voice for “The Companion” in the “Metamorphosis” episode. She also portrayed Lt. Palmer, a communications officer who took the place of Uhura, in “The Doomsday Machine”, “The Way to Eden”, and the very last episode of the series, “Turnabout Intruder”. She also had appearances on Time Tunnel, Land of The Giants, Bewitched, The Swarm and Something Evil. (Died 2004.)
- Born May 18, 1946 — Andreas Katsulas. I knew him as Ambassador G’Kar on Babylon 5 but had forgottenhe played played the Romulan Commander Tomalak on Star Trek: The Next Generation. His first genre role on television was playing Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and he had a recurring role in Max Headroom as Mr. Bartlett. He alsohad appearances on Alien Nation, The Death of the Incredible Hulk, Millennium, Star Trek: Enterprise and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. (Died 2006.)
- Born May 18, 1948 — R-Laurraine Tutihasi, 71. She’s a member of LASFS and the N3F. She publishes Feline Mewsings for FAPA. Not surprisingly, she’s had a number of SJW credentials in her life and her website gives honour to them here.
- Born May 18, 1949 — Rick Wakeman, 70. English musician who did a number of genre themed recordings including Journey to the Centre of the Earth, The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Nineteen Eighty-four.
- Born May 18, 1952 — Diane Duane, 67. She’s known for the the Young Wizards YA series though I’d like to single her out for her lesser known Feline Wizards series where SJW creds maintain the gates that wizards use for travel throughout the multiverse.
- Born May 18, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 61. The only thing I’ve read by him is a number of works in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. I see that he’s done scripts for Dark Horse, IDW and Marvel early on. And that he’s responsible for Captain America: Hail Hydra.
- Born May 18, 1969 — Ty Franck, 50. Half of the writing team along with Daniel Abraham that s James Corey, author of the Expanse series. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen behind by a volume or two as there’s just too many good series out there too keep up with all of them, damn it!
(12) SCARES THAT CARE. [Item by Dann.] Episode 219 of The Horror Show with Brian Keene included an announcement of the 3rd Horror Show telethon to benefit the Scares That Care charity. The first telethon in 2017 raised over $10,000, last year’s telethon raised over $20,000. Both events took place in Pennsylvania and heavily featured guests living on the east coast of the United States.
This year’s event will take place on September 27-28 at Dark Delicacies located at 822 N. Hollywood Way located in Burbank, CA. This is a new location for the bookstore that bills itself as the “Home of Horror”.
One feature of holding this year’s event in California is the ability to draw on the talented people in the horror genre that live and work on the west coast of the United States.
Unlike the first two telethons, this year’s event will take place in a location with less room for live viewing. It is hoped that attendees will circulate in and out of the viewing area that patrons of the store will still be able to shop.
The telethon will be broadcast live via one of the streaming services. Online fundraising will be performed via the Scares That Care website.
Fans wanting to participate in a Scares That Care event on the east coast can attend the “Scares That Care Weekend from August 1 to August 4 in Williamsburg, VA.
(13) GEOGRAPHY OF FANTASY. At Fantasy Literature, Brad Hawley reviews “God Country: A Sentient Sword Comes to Texas”.
…The sword, Valofax, is a giant sentient blade that is the embodiment of all swords and knives throughout the universe. It changes the life of a small family: Grandfather Emmett Quinlan, his son, and his son’s wife and young daughter. The story takes us from Texas to Hell and finally to the far-off home of Valofax, whose creator wants the sword back even as his planet dies all around him….
Does that mean it’s supposed to be a long distance between Texas and Hell?
(15) AT THE KGB. Ellen Datlow posted her photos from the KGB Readings on May 15.
Kai Ashante Wilson and Simon Strantzas read from their short work and they were riveting
(16) THOSE DARNED HUGOS. Galactic Journey’s Traveler notes with asperity that almost none of the Hugo nominees this year (that being 1964) were good enough to be shortlisted for his own Galactic Stars. “[May 18, 1964] Aspirations (June 1964 Fantasy and Science Fiction)”. (The Traveler needs to buy a bigger hat.)
If you plunked down your $2 for a Worldcon membership (Pacificon II in San Francisco this year), then you probably sent in your nominations for the Hugo Awards, honoring the best works of 1963. Last month, you got the finalists ballot. Maybe, like me, you were surprised….
(17) ANDERS ANSWERS. “Bay Area sci-fi author Charlie Jane Anders dishes on planets, books” in the Mercury News.
What do you think accounts for the recent boom in speculative fiction?
There’s been a trend over the last 20 years of “mainstream” literary authors dipping into speculative fiction — Margaret Atwood, John Updike. (But) we’re living in a time where everything is a little more science fictional. Technology has transformed lives in a short time, things like smartphones, medical technologies. A third thing is that speculative fiction is finally opening out and including authors who had previously been kept out of the genre: people of color, women, queer people, transgendered people, disabled people. That, I think, leads to an explosion of creativity and a ton of really interesting stories.
(18) NEBULA CONFERENCE VIDEOS. SFWA has posted several panel discussions from this weekend’s event.
- Shifting To Games. With Phoebe Barton, Kate Dollarhyde, Darusha Wehm, Natalia Theodoridou, and Kate Heartfield.
- Now What? Emerging writers discuss life after their debut. With Rebecca Roanhorse, Peng Shepherd, Mike Chen, R.R. Virdi and R.F. Kuang
- How do the writers of 2019 incorporate modern themes while writing in past settings? With Susan Forest, Connie Willis, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kate Heartfield
(19) STAR WARS PITCH. ScreenRant lets you step inside the pitch meeting that led to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope!
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Jim Caughran, Dann, Nancy Sauer, Martin Morse Wooster, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]