A skeleton Scroll – but there are only so many hours in the day!
(1) DUBLIN 2019 MASQUERADE AWARDS. Issue #8 of the Worldcon daily newzine has the full list of Masquerade award winners — https://dublin2019.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Issue8-final.pdf [PDF file].
(2) WORLDCON ATTENDANCE. The daily newzine reported that when the Registration desk closed Saturday night, the convention had registered a total of 5,554 attendees across all days.
(3) HUGO LOSERS PARTY PROBLEM. Alex Acks and a busload of people invited to the Hugo Losers Party were told they couldn’t get in when they arrived because the place was already filled to capacity. Thread starts here.
(4) GAMERGATE AT 5. Brianna Wu’s op-ed “I Wish I Could Tell You It’s Gotten Better. It Hasn’t” is part of the New York Times retrospective on the fifth anniversary of the start of Gamergate.
When Gamergate began, I was the head of development for my game studio, Giant Spacekat. I watched for months as a mob of trolls harassed women in game development with death threats and rape threats, and violated their privacy until they quit or gave up their careers.
What follows are a selection of quotes detailing threats and harassment claims from the FBI Gamergate report (2017)….
The men in our field were oblivious, saying it was “not an industry issue.” People in power did nothing.
Since industry leaders would not, I knew I had to act.
(5) REMEMBER WHAT VONNEGUT SAID PEOPLE WERE GOOD FOR. Cara Buckley asks “Why Is Hollywood So Scared of Climate Change?” in the New York Times.
Humans ruined everything. They bred too much and choked the life out of the land, air and sea.
And so they must be vaporized by half, or attacked by towering monsters, or vanquished by irate dwellers from the oceans’ polluted depths. Barring that, they face hardscrabble, desperate lives on a once verdant Earth now consumed by ice or drought.
That is how many recent superhero and sci-fi movies — among them the latest Avengers and Godzilla pictures as well as “Aquaman,” “Snowpiercer,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Interstellar” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” — have invoked the climate crisis. They imagine postapocalyptic futures or dystopias where ecological collapse is inevitable, environmentalists are criminals, and eco-mindedness is the driving force of villains.
But these takes are defeatist, critics say, and a growing chorus of voices is urging the entertainment industry to tell more stories that show humans adapting and reforming to ward off the worst climate threats.
“More than ever, they’re missing the mark, often in the same way,” said Michael Svoboda, a writing professor at George Washington University and author at the multimedia site Yale Climate Connections. “Almost none of these films depict a successful transformation of society.”
(6) A MOVIE ABOUT A WRITER. The Austin Chronicle headline reads “To Know Joe Lansdale Is to Love Joe Lansdale” – and there’s a great deal of truth to that.
Documentary films about authors are few and far between. That’s chiefly because the act of putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard isn’t anyone’s idea of high drama.
Not so with New York-based documentarian and self-professed fangirl Hansi Oppenheimer‘s All Hail the Popcorn King, a tribute to and examination of Joe Lansdale, the Lone Star State’s “writer of the purple rage.” Lansdale’s genre-defying, outrageously prolific curriculum vitae – some 50 novels, 500-plus short stories, comic books, screenplays, and not least his own brand of “martial science,” aka Shen Chuan – makes for an absorbing portrait of an artist whose imagination knows no bounds. Whether it’s on the screen (Bubba Ho-Tep; Sundance TV’s adaptation of Lansdale’s long-running Hap and Leonard series of novels) or on the page, the life story of this 10-time Bram Stoker Award-winning “Champion Mojo Storyteller” from the piney woods of Nacogdoches is every bit as extraordinary as any one of his artistic endeavors.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 18, 1929 — Joan Taylor. Her first genre role was Earth vs. the Flying Saucers as Carol Marvin, and she followed that with 20 Million Miles to Earth as Marisa Leonardo. Her last genre role was as Carol Gordon in Men into Space, a late Fifties series about a USAF attempt to explore and develop outer space. She retired from acting in the early Sixties. (Died 2012.)
- Born August 18, 1931 — Grant Williams. He is best remembered for his portrayal of Scott Carey in The Incredible Shrinking Man though he will have the role of the psychopathic killer in Robert Bloch’s The Couch. Of course, he shows in Outer Limits, he plays Major Douglas McKinnon in “The Brain of Colonel Barham”. And he’s Major Kurt Mason in The Doomsday Machine. (Died 1985.)
- Born August 18, 1934 — Michael de Larrabeiti. He is best known for writing The Borrible Trilogy which is noted by several sources online as being an influence by writers in the New Weird movement. Ok folks, I’ve not read so please explain how The Borrible Trilogy influences that literary movement. (Died 2008.)
- Born August 18, 1925 — Brian Aldiss. He’s well known as an anthologist and SF writer with Space, Time and Nathaniel, a collection of short stories being his first genre publication. I’ll single out Space Opera and other such anthologies as my favorite works by him. His “Super-Toys Last All Summer Long” is the basis for A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Much honored, he’s was named a Grand Master by SFWA and inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He also has received two Hugo Awards, one Nebula Award, and one John W. Campbell Memorial Award. (Died 2017.)
- Born August 18, 1954 — Russell Blackford, 65. Writer resident in Australia for awhile but now in Wales. Author of Terminator 2: The New John Connor Chronicles, and editor of the Australian Science Fiction Review in the Eighties. With Van Ikin and Sean McMullen, he wrote Strange Constellations: A History of Australian Science Fiction, and Science Fiction and the Moral Imagination: Visions, Minds, Ethics which is just out.
- Born August 18, 1958 — Madeleine Stowe, 61. She’s in the Twelve Monkeys film as Kathryn Railly, and she’s in the Twelve Monkeys series as Lillian in the “”Memory of Tomorrow” episode. Her only other genre work was a one-off in The Amazing Spider-Man which ran for thirteen episodes nearly forty years ago. She was Maria Calderon in “Escort to Danger” in that series, and she also played Mia Olham in Impostor which scripted off Philip K. Dick’s “Impostor” story.
- Born August 18, 1966 — Alison Goodman, 53. Australian writer whose Singing the Dogstar Blues won an Aurealis Award for best young-adult novel. The Two Pearls of Wisdom which in the States as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn won a Aurealis Award for the Best Fantasy Novel, and was a 2008 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Honor Book as well.
- Born August 18, 1967 — Brian Michael Bendis, 52. He’s both writer and artist, a still uncommon occurrence. Did you know he’s garnered five Eisner Awards for both his creator-owned work and Marvel Comics? Very impressive! He’s the primary force behind the creation of the Ultimate Marvel Universe, launching Ultimate Spider-Man which is an amazing series which I been reading on the Marvel Unlimited app.
(8) CONZEALAND PR#1. If I didn’t mention it before, CoNZealand Progress Report 1 has been posted. It’s a free download for anyone.
(9) REQUIEM. The climate change dunnit: “Iceland’s Okjokull glacier commemorated with plaque”.
Mourners have gathered in Iceland to commemorate the loss of Okjokull, which has died at the age of about 700.
The glacier was officially declared dead in 2014 when it was no longer thick enough to move.
What once was glacier has been reduced to a small patch of ice atop a volcano.
Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson and former Irish President Mary Robinson attended the ceremony.
After opening remarks by Ms Jakobsdottir, mourners walked up the volcano northeast of the capital Reykjavik to lay a plaque which carries a letter to the future.
“Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as glacier,” it reads.
“In the next 200 years all our main glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done.
“Only you know if we did it.”
The dedication, written by Icelandic author Andri Snaer Magnason, ends with the date of the ceremony and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air globally – 415 parts per million (ppm).
(10) HACKING THE WAY TO GLORY. The Hollywood Reporter reveals “How a Norwegian Viking Comedy Producer Hacked Netflix’s Algorithm”.
…The key to landing on Netflix’s radar, he knew, would be to hack its recommendation engine: get enough people interested in the show early. Then, hopefully, Netflix’s mysterious algorithm would do its thing.
Netflix had given Tangen an Aug. 18, 2017, date for the premiere of Norsemen in its English-language territories (the show shot back-to-back versions in Norwegian and English). Three weeks before launch, he set up a campaign on Facebook, paying for targeted posts and Facebook promotions. The posts were fairly simple — most included one of six short (20- to 25-second) clips of the show and a link, either to the show’s webpage or to media coverage.
They used so-called A/B testing — showing two versions of a campaign to different audiences and selecting the most successful — to fine-tune. The U.S. campaign didn’t cost much — $18,500, which Tangen and his production partners put up themselves — and it was extremely precise.
(11) WHEN GOOD ISN’T ENOUGH. Odyssey Writing Workshops shares unexpected insights about the slushpile in “Interview: Graduate Kate Marshall (Part 2 of 2)”.
You used to read slush for Beneath Ceaseless Skies. What were some of the things you learned from reading all of those stories?
The main thing I learned was that there’s a whole lot of “fine” and even “good” writing out there, far more than there is “bad” (in the slush, at least). The competently written stories abounded, and at first it was very hard to turn those down. There was nothing wrong with them, after all. But eventually, I learned to recognize the gulf between competent writing and a great story. There wasn’t one thing that set every great story apart; it wasn’t that clear-cut. It might be a killer voice, a grab-you-by-the-throat opening, an ending that left you feeling downright emotionally wobbly. Every one of those stories had something that provoked a reaction, and studying the difference between the death scene that was merely competent and the one that felt like a knife to the gut helped me start to think about what the true core of my stories was.
[Thanks to rcade, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Paul Weimer.]