(1) MISKATONIC SCHOLARSHIP. Scott Gray is the 2020 winner of George R. R. Martin’s Miskatonic Scholarship, which supports a promising new writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror attending the Odyssey Writing Workshop.
As a boy, Martin came across his first story by H. P. Lovecraft. He says, “I had never read a story that scared me more . . . so of course I sought out more Lovecraft wherever I could find it.” Martin’s love of weird fiction grew, and he found that “No werewolf, no vampire, no thing going bump in the night could give me chills to equal those provided by the cosmic horrors that Lovecraft evoked.”
With the annual Miskatonic Scholarship, Martin hopes to provide “encouragement and inspiration to a new generation of writers.” And to one special scholarship candidate, Martin wants to offer the opportunity to learn and improve at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, one of the top programs in the world for writers of the fantastic. The scholarship covers full tuition and housing at the workshop.
Scott Gray lives in New Hampshire.
…He developed a love of stories as a young boy, especially those that transported him to other worlds.
…Jeanne Cavelos, one of the scholarship judges and director of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, says, “The other judges and I loved the unique way that Scott’s story brought heart and a deep sense of humanity to this tale of cosmic horror. It evoked not only fear but also hope and joy.”
Click here to read about the other scholarship winners: “Special Announcement: 2020 Odyssey Writing Workshop Scholarship Winners”.
(2) FEELING DISCONNECTED. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] Michael Cavna has a piece in the Washington Post about how comedians miss people getting together in groups and laughing. Among the people Cavna talks to are Pixar head Pete Docter, who says that Soul is being edited in hundreds of homes of Pixar employees, and Patton Oswalt, who says that when he performs, “each crowd is its own separate sentient living thing” and without an audience, “you lose a check-in with humanity. You lose a reminder that ‘OK, I’m connected with the planet–I’m connected with the present.” “Without movie theaters, we’re missing communal laughter: ‘You lose a check-in with humanity’’.
…Docter, the chief creative officer of Pixar, says that early filmmakers, in both animation and live-action, understood how their movies were made to be seen with an audience.
“Strange pauses and gaps in Bugs Bunny cartoons suddenly made sense when I saw them with a live audience — those blank areas were filled with audience laughter,” Docter says while self-quarantining in his Bay Area home. “The same was true of Laurel and Hardy and [Buster] Keaton films — they were timed to allow space for the audience to respond.”
(3) STILL IN THE WORKS. Locus Online adds items to its post about COVID-19 cancellations every few days. Locus Award Weekend, on the calendar for next month, has not been cancelled as of today’s update.
Locus Awards Weekend, June 26-28, 2020 in Seattle WA
We are keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 status, and will be diligent about canceling as needed. At this time it seems likely we will not have a physical event, but we are exploring virtual alternatives. We are in a holding pattern and have suspended general ticket sales.
(4) DISNEY WORLD MEETS FLORIDA MAN. Really, you’d think it would have happened before now. From behind a paywall at The Week:
A Florida man has been caught trying to self-isolate on a private island in Disney World. Richard McGuire, 42, insisted that he hadn’t seen the numerous ‘no trespassing signs’ on the island, or heard the loudspeaker warnings from Disney officials who became aware of his presence. He claimed to be ‘unaware’ of the police helicopter that hovered overhead because he was asleep on an abandoned building on Discovery Island. When he was arrested, McGuire told police it felt as if he’d discovered a ‘tropical paradise.’
(5) CLOCKING IN. In “Here’s How Time Works Now” at McSweeney’s, Eli Grober has the 411 about the changing nature of time. For example —
You may remember that a day used to take place over the course of 24 hours. We felt this was too much. A day is now over the moment you first ask yourself, “What time is it?”
It does not matter what time it actually is when you do this. As soon as you ask or think, “What time is it” for the first time that day, even if it is still ten in the morning, it will suddenly be eight at night. Does that make sense?
(6) THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. And it feels appropriate to follow with The Lewis Carroll Society of North America’s post “If you knew Time …”, a collection of links to resources about the author.
“Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next.”
For so many of us, this topsy-turvy world of shelter-in-place has left us with time on our hands. Our president, Linda Cassady, has some suggestions for some fine online Carrollian resources. And who knows? You might discover some unknown or little-known item or a fresh perspective that we can tell the world about!
(7) TAKE THE CHALLENGE. “Antidepressants or Tolkien”— it’s a quiz. The Filer who sent the link says, “It’s more difficult than you would expect.” I racked up a score of 17/24.
(8) A PIONEER. In this video the late D.C. Fontana being interviewed by Rob Word from the A Word On Westerns podcast. Her comments are mostly regarding the shows for which she wrote episodes and bounced from westerns to sci-fi and back.
(9) ALIENATED ABDUCTION. The Hollywood Reporter thought he mght have something to say: “Bill Pullman Responds to Donald Trump’s Altered ‘Independence Day’ Clip”.
President Donald Trump on Saturday shared a heavily altered video clip from the 1996 film Independence Day in which it appears that he gives the iconic speech from the President of the United States.
Not only is Trump superimposed, but so are others in the crowd, including Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Jr., as well as Fox News’ personalities Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.
As of 8:30 p.m., the president’s post had been retweeted 50,000 times and had more than 153,000 “likes.”
Actor Bill Pullman, who played President Thomas J. Whitmore in Independence Day, was among those who saw the clip. And he responded.
“My voice belongs to no one but me, and I’m not running for president — this year,” Pullman told The Hollywood Reporter.
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
- May 18, 1962 —They make a fairly convincing pitch here. It doesn’t seem possible, though, to find a woman who must be ten times better than mother in order to seem half as good, except, of course, in the Twilight Zone. — Intro narration. On this date The Twilight Zone aired “I Sing The Body Electric,” an episode based on a story by Ray Bradbury. Although Bradbury contributed several scripts to the series, this was the only one produced. The script was written by Bradbury himself. An large ensemble cast was needed, hence Josephine Hutchinson, David White, Vaughn Taylor, Doris Packer, Veronica Cartwright, Susan Crane and Charles Herbert all being performers. This was the year that the entire season of the series won Best Dramatic Presentation at Chicon III.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz. Typoed by Mike Glyer.]
- Born May 16, 1918 — Sam Dann. Scriptwriter who wrote 311 episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater between 1974 and 1982. The show despite its name broadcast a lot of horror and science fiction stories as well. Much of his work was adaptations such as A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Murder on the Space Shuttle (Holmes meets Rogers!), the SF content was largely his. (Died 2004.) (CE)
- Born May 18, 1919 – Margot Fonteyn. Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire; named prima ballerina assoluta of the Royal Ballet by Elizabeth II. Danced many fantasies e.g. The Firebird, Giselle, Raymonda, Swan Lake. (Died 1991) [JH]
- Born May 16, 1930 — Fred Saberhagen. I’m reasonably sure I’ve read the entirety of his Berserker series though not in the order they were intended to be read. Some are outstanding, some less so. I’d recommend Berserker Man, Shiva in Steel and the original Berserker collection. Of his Dracula sequence, the only one I think I 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.) (CE)
- Born May 18, 1931 – Don Martin. Album covers for Prestige Records (Miles Davis, Art Farmer, Stan Getz). A cover and thirty interiors for Galaxy. Mad’s Maddest Artist, of hinged feet, onomatopoeia – his car license plate was SHTOINK – and National Gorilla Suit Day. Fourteen collections. Ignatz Award, Nat’l Cartoonists Society’s Special Features Award, Will Eisner Hall of Fame. (Died 2000) [JH]
- Born May 18, 1948 – R-Laurraine Tutihasi. Active in fanzines, the N3F (Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n; won its Kaymar and Franson awards), and otherwise. Loccer (“loc” also “LoC” = letter of comment, the blood of fanzines) at least as far back as Algol and The Diversifier, also Janus, Tightbeam, Broken Toys. Her own fanzine is Purrsonal Mewsings. [JH]
- Born May 16, 1952 — Diane Duane, 68. She’s known for 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. A most wonderful thing for felines to do! (CE)
- Born May 16, 1958 — Jonathan Maberry, 62. The only thing I’ve read by him is the first five novels in the Joe Ledger Series which has a high body count and an even higher improbability index. Popcorn reading with Sriracha sauce. 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 which I remember as quite excellent. (CE)
- Born May 16, 1958 — Toyah Willcox, 62. English actress who’s done quite a bit of genre work starting with being in The Quatermass Conclusion as Sal and then again in the Quatermass series. She shows up on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Janet, and as Dog in the superb Ink Thief series. She plays Dialta Downes in Tomorrow Calling based off Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum“ with the screenplay by Tim Leandro. (CE)
- Born May 18, 1959 – Debbie Dadey. A hundred sixty books, of which six dozen are (with Marcia Jones) short Bailey School Kids, also Ghostville Elementary, The Keyholders. Int’l Reading Ass’n Children’s Choice, Young Adults’ Choice awards; ABC Best Book for Children; Sunshine State Young Reader’s Awards. [JH]
- Born May 18, 1959 – Sophie Masson. Member of the Order of Australia. Forty novels, twenty shorter stories. Aurealis Award for The Hand of Glory. [JH]
- Born May 17, 1963 – Greg Beatty. Ph.D. in English. Rhysling Award. Stories, poems, articles, essays, reviews, interviews, in Abyss & Apex, Aeon, Asimov’s, Audiofile, Helios, Independent Scholar, Internet Review of SF, N.Y. Review of SF, Philological Quarterly, SF Studies, Starline, Strange Horizons, Tangent Online. Children’s picture books too. [JH]
(12) COMICS SECTION.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is proving that AI still can’t make sense of pictures.
- Frank and Ernest make a good dinosaur joke.
- The Far Side meets a patient mummy.
- Pearls Before Swine explains why you shouldn’t rely on Facebook as your primary news source.
(13) WRAPPED UP. “She-Ra Said Gay Rights! A Spoiler-Filled Chat with Creator Noelle Stevenson on the Final Season” at Paste Magazine.
…With the rainbow-solid queer credentials brought to the table by creator Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes, Nimona, The Fire Never Goes Out) and her team, and with the equally sparkling queer representation present in the series from the very beginning (Bow’s nerdy dads, thirtysomething Princess couple Spinerella and Netossa, Scorpia’s whole Scorpianess), fans needn’t have worried that their favorite friends-to-enemies lesbian ‘ship would right itself in the end. Still, when the frenemies’ long-awaited admission of love gave Adora enough strength to stop that apocalyptic countdown in the final minutes of “Heart Part 2,” you could almost feel the internet breathe a collective sigh of relieved joy.
(14) LOVE THAT DIRTY WATER. “Mud flows on Red Planet behave like ‘boiling toothpaste”. There’s an analogy for you – if you’re lucky, you’ve never experienced this at home or have any idea what that looks like.
Scientists have made a surprising discovery about Mars by playing with muck in the laboratory.
An international team of researchers wondered how volcanoes that spew mud instead of molten rock might look on the Red Planet compared with their counterparts here on Earth.
In chamber experiments, simulated Martian mud flows were seen to behave a bit like boiling toothpaste.
Under certain conditions, the fluid even began to bounce.
The mucky gunge resembled a certain type of lava referred to as “pahoehoe”, which is observed at Hawaii’s famous K?lauea volcano.
The research results could now complicate some investigations at the Red Planet, believes study lead Dr Petr Brož from the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geophysics.
“You’ll look at some features [from space] and you won’t know for sure whether they are the result of lava flows or mud flows.
“Without a geologist on the ground to hit them with a hammer, it will be hard to tell,” he told BBC News.
(15) I WALK TO THE TREES. BBC invites you to “Meet the baby orangutans learning to climb trees”.
While much of the world is in lockdown, youngsters in one very unusual classroom are still having lessons.
At a forest school in Borneo, baby orangutans learn tree-climbing skills from their human surrogate parents.
The orphans spend 12 hours a day in the forest, preparing for a new life in the wild.
The orangutans were filmed and photographed before coronavirus struck, for the TV series Primates, on BBC One.
With human contact routinely kept to a minimum, life goes on much as before for the animals, says Dr Signe Preuschoft, leader of ape programmes for the charity Four Paws, which runs the rehabilitation centre in East Kalimantan.
As a precaution, the staff now have temperature checks, wear facemasks and change into uniforms on site.
…The young orphaned apes climb high into the treetops with their caregivers to help them acquire the skills they would have learned from their mothers in the wild.
They would otherwise spend more time on the ground than is natural for a species that feeds, lives and sleeps in the canopies of trees.
Baby orangutans have a huge advantage when it comes to climbing, as they can hold on “like an octopus”, says Dr Preuschoft.
“I think the orangutans were really completely thrilled when they realised that they could actually be in a canopy together with one of their moms,” she adds.
(16) VACCINE NEWS. “Coronavirus vaccine: First evidence jab can train immune system”.
The first hints that a vaccine can train people’s immune system to fight coronavirus have been reported by a company in the US.
Moderna said neutralising antibodies were found in the first eight people who took part in their safety trials.
It also said the immune response was similar to people infected with the actual virus.
Larger trials to see whether the jab actually protects against infection are expected to start in July.
Work on a coronavirus vaccine has been taking place at unprecedented speed, with around 80 groups around the world working on them.
Moderna was the first to test an experimental vaccine, called mRNA-1273, in people.
The vaccine is a small snippet of the coronavirus’s genetic code, which is injected into the patient.
It is not capable of causing an infection or the symptoms of Covid-19, but is enough to provoke a response from the immune system.
(17) THEY NEEDED TO PULL THE PLUG. BBC reports “Europe’s supercomputers hijacked by attackers for crypto mining”.
At least a dozen supercomputers across Europe have shut down after cyber-attacks tried to take control of them.
A pan-European supercomputing group says they seem to have tried to use the machines to mine cryptocurrency.
“A security exploitation” disabled access to the Archer supercomputer, at the University of Edinburgh, on 11 May.
Staff said they were working with the National Cyber Security Centre to restore the system, which had recently installed a pandemic modelling tool.
“We now believe this to be a major issue across the academic community as several computers have been compromised in the UK and elsewhere in Europe,” the team said.
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “At Home With Roz Chast” on Vimeo is a portrait of the New Yorker cartoonist.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, N., Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, John Hertz, Andrew Porter, Lise Andreasen, Olav Rokne, Dann, Michael Toman, JJ, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jeff Smith.]