(1) BLUE PLAQUE SPECIAL. Once upon a time GRRM lived in Chicago, a fact not to be overlooked by anyone seeking a sweet price for the property. NBC Chicago lets you “See Inside: ‘GoT’ Creator George R.R. Martin’s Former Uptown Home is Up for Sale”. Video here. Should Chicago ever adopt the British tradition of putting plaques outside the homes of famous people, maybe there will be one here?
It may not be in the Red Keep, but it was once a throne fit for George R.R. Martin.
The “Game of Thrones” creator spent four years living in an apartment in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Now, you can live there too – for $354,900.
The third-floor unit in the 900 block of West Margate Terrace on the North Side, where Martin lived from 1971 to 1975 along with several roommates, has hit the market. The three-bedroom condo is listed on Martin’s website as the home where he lived after getting his master’s degree from Northwestern.
“I say ‘three bedroom,’ but for our purposes there were five, once we put a bed in the dining room and another on the back porch,” he wrote. “The rent was $150 a month, after all. There was no way a bunch of guys just out of college could afford that without cramming.”
(2) WORLDCONS PAST AND FUTURE. Here’s video of the chairs introducing themselves at the 2019 Worldcon Chairs photo session.
(3) PRIZES FOR ALL. Well, what else did you expect The Mary Sue’s headline to be? “Everyone Who Contributed to Fanfiction Site “Archive of Our Own” Is Now a Hugo Award Winner”. Even though that claim isn’t repeated in the body of the article.
… But what set Tumblr, Twitter, Discord, and text chats alight across the world was the news that Archive of Our Own won the Hugo for Best Related Fanwork. This was the Archive’s first time being nominated, news initially treated as somewhat contentious by those who still don’t want to try and understand the vital, ever-growing, incredibly rich and variegated culture of fan-created work.
…Archive of Our Own’s win felt like a real victory for millions of us who write and create fanart, videos, podfic, meta essays, and more. It sure is nice to have that shiny rocket statue and acknowledgment from one of the most prestigious award-giving bodies in genre fiction that we are here and crafting wondrous things.
(4) ADJOURNED SINE DIE. Chris Barkley has posted what seems to be his farewell address to the WSFS business meeting:
…To the members of the Business meeting and the SMOFs mailing list I say this: I thank you for your advice and patience. Your vigilance in protection of the Constitution and the Hugo Awards has been long and admirable. But your seeming officiousness, proof of worthiness, over reliance on years and years of committee studies are your weakness. These things scare and alienate fans from engaging in the process. While it was all good and well to fast track the Best Fancast and Best Series categories, it was done at the expense of the Young Adult Award, which lingered for years before it was decided to give it a trial and only then as something other than a Hugo category. The BM has proven itself to be nimble to act when we were threatened by the Puppies and yet unable to debate the merits of a Best Game or Interactive Experience amendment after a year in committee and a detailed, sixty page report from its proponents. I implore you all to be more intuitive and take more risks and chances, especially with those who come before you for the first time.
To you, the members of this community who contemplating going to the Business Meeting or are loath to spend any amount of your precious Worldcon time attending these long, laborious meeting; if you do not approve of what is happening at the World Science Fiction Convention or with the WSFS Constitution and the Hugo Awards, there is no substitution for GETTING INVOLVED!. There are a lot of things I regret; not learning how to become a switch hitter in softball, learning to play a musical instrument or becoming bilingual. But every moment I spent the Business Meeting has been well spent. So go down to your independent/used bookstore or online and get a Roberts Rules of Order and jump into the action. If you don’t, you haven’t any damned right to bitch about it….
(5) ENTERING THE LISTS. [Item by SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie.] The Hugo long-list has been announced. How does this compare with SF² Concatenation’s beginning-of-year suggestions as to the best SF works of 2019? You may recall that at the beginning of each year the SF² Conatenation team members have a round-robin suggesting best works of the previous year and multiple citations of work get listed. it is purely a bit of fun but over the years we have noticed that regularly a few of these go on to be nominated for major SF awards and in turn some of these turn out to be winner.
All well and good but how did SF² Concatenation’s choice of best novels of 2019 compare with the Hugo long-list of top 16 Hugo titles for ‘best novel’ that made up its long-list? Well, the following of ours are in the Hugo long-list:
Semiosis by Sue Burke (character-driven, exo-planet first contact)
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (futuristic, post climate-apocalyptic world building)
Before Mars by Emma Newman (off world, mundane-ish, new wave SF)
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor – also short-listed
Of those SF² Conatenation listed on the film (best dramatic presentation long-form) front the following were on the Hugo long list:
Ant-Man and the Wasp (Trailer here)
Incredibles 2 (Trailer here)
A Quiet Place – also short-listed (Trailer here)
Sorry to Bother You – also short-listed (Trailer here)
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – the winner (Trailer here)
Not bad for a bit of fun, though certainly not to be taken seriously. (We will have another team selection of our personal ‘bests’ with our spring edition to be posted in January (2020)). Meanwhile, here are SF² Conatenation’s Best Science Fiction of Past Years.
(6) IN ALL THE PAPERS. Irish Times reporter Frank McNally ended up on a panel at the Dublin Worldcon: “Worldcon mad: a collision between science fiction and Flann O’Brien”.
In a parallel universe, I may be an avid reader of science fiction. In this one, the genre has almost entirely eluded me. And yet on Thursday, through some warp in the space-time continuum, I found myself among the speakers on a panel at Worldcon 2019, an extraordinary event that has brought thousands of sci-fi enthusiasts to Ireland from all over the world. If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin this weekend, it’s them.
The subject of the panel was Flann O’Brien, formerly of this parish, whose work would not normally be described as science fiction, although it appears to have formed a bridge to that community. Crucial to this is his novel The Third Policeman, which revolves around the work of a mad scientist. Among other things, it inspired part of the cult 2005 TV series, Lost, through which many of the world’s sci-fi enthusiasts first heard of its author.
“If you see any strange-looking people wandering around Dublin” – isn’t it reassuring that some things never seem to change, like the stereotypical view of SF fans among reporters?
However, the Irish Independent listened to George R.R. Martin: “‘Don’t forget history’, warns Games of Thrones author George RR Martin as he accepts Irish book award”.
The American creator of the hugely popular fantasy book and TV series said he appreciated that readers loved his fantasy writing, but urged people not to “neglect real history.”
He made the comments in a public interview at the GPO in Dublin this evening, where he was awarded the 2019 An Post International Recognition Award for his contribution to fantasy and science fiction writing over the past 40 years.
“I’m glad so much of the world has fallen in love with my books and my TV show. But we’re living in perilous times, folks, in the US and UK and I’m sure it’s affecting every part of the world.
“Nothing is ever truer than those who do not know real history are doomed to repeat it.”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born August 21, 1888 — Miriam Allen deFord. Almost all of her genre fiction was published at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Anthony Boucher. It can be found in two collections, Xenogenesis and Elsewhere, Elsewhen, Elsehow. Her “A Death in the Family” story was adapted in Night Gallery‘s second season. Other a few short stories, nothing’s available digitally by her. (Died 1975.)
- Born August 21, 1911 — Anthony Boucher. I’m currently reading Rocket to the Morgue which the folks at Penzler Publishers sent me for review. Really great read. If you can find a copy, The Compleat Boucher: The Complete Short Science Fiction and Fantasy of Anthony Boucher is a most excellent read. Unfortunately, The Compleat Werewolf and Other Stories of Fantasy and Science Fiction is the collection available digitally. (Died 1968.)
- Born August 21, 1937 — Arthur Thomson. Fanzine writer and editor and prolific artist known as ATom. Artist for the well known Hyphen zine, he won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund in 1964 and visited the States. He was nominated five times for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist, but never won. After Thomson won the 2000 Rotsler Award, it was decided not to present the Rotsler posthumously again. (Died 1990.)
- Born August 21, 1943 — Lucius Shepard. Damn I didn’t know he’d passed on. Life During Wartime is one seriously weird novel. And his World Fantasy Award winning The Jaguar Hunter is freaking amazing as are all his short collections. (Died 2014.)
- Born August 21, 1956 — Kim Cattrall, 63. Gracie Law in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China. Fantastic film! She also played Justine de Winter in The Return of the Musketeers, Paige Katz in Wild Palms, Lieutenant Valeris inStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Linday Isley in Good v. Evil. Series wise, she was one offs in Tales of the Gold Monkey, Logan’s Run, The Incredible Hulk and The Outer Limits.
- Born August 21, 1957 — John Howe, 62. Canadian book illustrator who’s worked on many a project of which the Peter Jackson Hobbit films is the one we’ll most know and which he did with Alan Lee, but he’s also done a number of endeavors including a limited edition of George R. R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings which was released by Meisha Merlin, A Diversity of Dragons by Anne McCaffrey and A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag End to Mordor.
- Born August 21, 1966 — Denise Mina, 53. Genre wise, she’s best known for having written thirteen issues of Hellblazer. Her two runs were “Empathy is the Enemy” and “The Red Right Hand”. ISFDB lists The Dead Hour as genre but it’s very much not. Excellent novel but think rather in the vein of Ian Rankin’s Rebus novels.
- Born August 21, 1967 — Carrie-Anne Moss, 52. I first saw her as Tara McDonald in the Dark Justice series. Not genre, just her first video I think. Playing Monica Howard in the “Feeding the Beast” episode of Forever Knight was her first genre role. Oddly enough her next role was as Liz Teel in the Canadian series called Matrix which has nothing to do with the Matrix film franchise where she’s Trinity. As of late, she’s been playing Jeryn Hogarth in the Netflix based Marvel Universe.
(8) WEB COMES UNSTUCK. Two corporations will no longer partner in this superhero franchise: “Spider-Man and Tom Holland: Sony ‘disappointed’ over Disney split”.
Sony says it’s “disappointed” not to be working with Disney on future Spider-Man films.
We might not see actor Tom Holland in new Marvel movies because a fresh deal can’t be reached over the character.
The film rights to the superhero are owned by Sony – but he could appear in movies like Avengers: Endgame due to a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios – owned by Disney.
Sony says it hopes things “might change in future”.
In a series of tweets, Sony thanked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige for his “help and guidance” with the franchise.
(9) ISFIC WRITERS CONTEST. The 2019 Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago (ISFiC) Writers Contest is accepting submissions until September 1. Don’t miss out!
If you are a writer currently living in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Kentucky, or Ohio, or were a Windycon 2018 attendee, and if you have not yet been paid to publish your fiction, you’re eligible to submit your work! Please review the complete contest guidelines here.
The ISFiC Writers Contest began in 1986 and has helped many authors begin their careers in publishing. All authors retain the rights to their stories and are free to publish them elsewhere after the contest, with the winning story making its debut in the Windycon 2019 program.
Winners will enjoy a $300 cash award and the opportunity to attend Windycon 2019 with a complimentary membership badge and double room at the convention hotel. Honorable mentions will receive a commemorative 1oz American silver coin.
(10) GRAPHS TO THE RESCUE. Camestros
Felapton has been inspired by Nicholas Whyte’s Hugo vote analysis to think
about ways to save the
whales Best Fanzine Hugo: “More
Hugo Graphs, Fanzine & Ramblings”.
Nicholas Whyte has an insightful look at the 2019 Hugo stats here: https://nwhyte.livejournal.com/3244665.html
The biggest issue raised is that final votes for Best Fanzine came perilously close to less than 25% of the total votes. [stats are now on the Hugo history pages here http://www.thehugoawards.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/2019-Hugo-Statistics.pdf ] Whyte says:
“We were surprisingly close to not giving a Best Fanzine award in both 2019 Hugos and 1944 Retro Hugos this year. The total first preference votes for Best Fanzine finalists other than No Award in both cases was 26.9% of the total number of votes cast overall (833/3097 and 224/834).”
(11) MR. ANDERSON. Be still my beating heart. “The Matrix: Keanu Reeves to reprise role for fourth chapter” – BBC has the story.
Matrix co-creator Lana Wachowski will write, direct and produce the film, a third sequel to the original 1999 hit.
Ms Wachowski celebrated The Matrix’s return, saying many of the ideas it explores are “even more relevant now”.
(12) FADING AWAY. BBC reports how “Titanic sub dive reveals parts are being lost to sea”.
The first people to dive down to the Titanic in nearly 15 years say some of the wreck is deteriorating rapidly.
Over the course of five submersible dives, an international team of deep-sea explorers surveyed the sunken ship, which lies 3,800m down in the Atlantic.
While parts of the wreck were in surprisingly good condition, other features had been lost to the sea.
The worst decay was seen on the starboard side of the officers’ quarters.
Titanic historian Parks Stephenson said some of what he saw during the dive was “shocking”.
“The captain’s bathtub is a favourite image among Titanic enthusiasts – and that’s now gone,” he said.
“That whole deck house on that side is collapsing, taking with it the state rooms. And that deterioration is going to continue advancing.”
(13) JUST A HUNK OF BURNING LOVE. Days after announcing a solar-panel leasing program, “Tesla sued by Walmart over solar panel fires”.
US supermarket chain Walmart is suing Tesla’s energy division, after solar panels on seven of its stores caught fire.
It alleges that the firm was negligent in how it installed the panels on the roofs of the stores.
Court documents describe a string of fires that occurred between 2012 and 2018 at Walmart locations in Ohio, Maryland and California.
Tesla has not yet responded to the claims.
The lawsuit alleges that the first fire occurred at a Walmart store in Long Beach, California in 2012.
Another in Beavercreek, Ohio, in March 2018 saw customers evacuated and the store closed for eight days.
Walmart is asking Tesla to remove solar panels from all its stores and to pay damages.
It alleged that Tesla deployed individuals to inspect the solar systems who “lacked basic solar training and knowledge”.
(14) AGAINST ODYSSEY TWO. Defying Clarke’s aliens — and real-world challenges — “Nasa confirms ocean moon mission”.
Scientists working on an audacious mission to the ocean world of Europa can proceed with the final design and construction of the spacecraft, Nasa says.
The Europa Clipper mission will target the ice-encrusted moon of Jupiter, which is considered a prime target in the search for life beyond Earth.
Below its icy shell, Europa is thought to hold a 170km-deep body of water.
This could have the right conditions for biology.
Due to launch in 2025, the Europa Clipper mission has now passed a stage called Key Decision Point C, a crucial marker on the road to the launch pad.
(15) BACK TO NO FUTURE. A.V. Club’s Mike Vago points out that ”Plenty of sci-fi futures are now in the past”.
Strangest fact: While most sci-fi hedges its bets and sets the story long after both author and audience have shuffled off this mortal coil, some stories are far more daring, portraying a drastically different near-future, when in fact the near future usually looks mostly like the present but everyone’s phone is thinner and more expensive. Kevin Costner’s infamous bomb The Postman took place only 16 years after its 1997 release, and in that short time the public has forgotten who Shakespeare is (but thankfully not Tom Petty). But the 2013 of the film is still reeling from a long-ago disaster that happened in… 1997, meaning the movie’s premise was already out of date by the time the film hit DVD.
The Postman isn’t the only one that cut it close. 12 Monkeys (1995) predicts a virus that wipes out most of humanity in 1996; Roland Emmerich’s 2012 came out in 2009; 1988’s Alien Nation portrays a 1991 in which aliens have integrated into society after landing on Earth in 1988
(16) FURRIES AT WAR. Blake Montgomery, in the Daily Beast story “How A Cooling Vest Invented by a Furry Made Its Way To The U.S. Military” says that the EZ Cooldown vest was invented by Dutch furry Pepeyn Langedijk in 2014 as a way of keeping cool when wearing furry outfits. It’s gained ground in the U.S. military, particularly among tank crews, but its rise is in part due to “Milfurs,” soldiers who spend their spare time in furry fandom.
In his green claws, the former armorer for the U.S. Army held a collection of military insignia, including a Combat Action Badge, signifying that he had engaged with enemy fighters in Iraq. He stood before an amused audience of men in tight haircuts and camouflage as his unit came together to honor his service.
In his fursuit, Travis is better known as “Stolf,” a fantastical big cat blending the features of a snow leopard, tiger, and wolf. He likes the odd motorcycle ride or ski run while dressed up, and enjoys meeting other “furries”—members of an internet subculture centered on dressing up as anthropomorphic animals.
In his less colorful uniform, Travis was entrusted with the maintenance and repair of small arms like the Mk 19 grenade launcher, both in Iraq and at his duty station, McChord Air Force Base in Washington state. (Travis asked that only his first name be used because of online threats he’s received.)
(17) PITT STOP. A new trailer for the sf adventure Ad Astra was just released. In theaters September 20.
Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos.
[Thanks to Steven H Silver, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, John King Tarpinian, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day RedWombat.]