(1) ROBOCALL BOMB THREAT LEADS TO CON EVACUATION. On Sunday fans were ordered to evacuate Yestercon, a one-day nostalgia con in Carson, California, as a result of a bomb threat. PopCultHQ has extensive coverage.
…“CelebWorx brought Keith Coogan and Greg Berg to Yestercon. At approximately 3:08, onsite staffers from the Carson civic center went through the celebrity aisle to calmly alert us to leave the facility immediately. We had no time to grab anything. When we reached the parking lot, the Carson police department asked us to get in our cars and drive away as far as possible. The show until then was going wonderfully with a healthy crowd. It was the most attended Yestercon in the past three years. We returned two hours later to retrieve our abandoned items.” – Nery Lemus – Vice President – CelebWorx
Nery then went on to provide me the following;
“After speaking to a Yestercon official, the Bomb Threat was a result of a robotic phone call singling out the name Yestercon as the target of the threat.”
(2) CAN THIS GAME BE PLAYED FOR MONEY? Yes, if you make it to the world-champion video-gaming tournament: “The biggest e-sports event in the world”.
The International isn’t just any e-sports tournament.
It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world with a prize pool of nearly $24m (£18.4m) and is hosted by Valve.
Sixteen teams, with players from all over the world, are competing in the season climax for online battle arena game Dota 2.
For many of them the prestige of lifting the trophy at this ultra-competitive event is far more important than the cash.
Alex “machine” Richardson is Dota 2’s answer to Gary Lineker and has been hosting the live stream of the group stages, which are taking place in Seattle.
(3) HOW DOCTOR WHO STOLE CHRISTMAS. ScienceFiction.com says it could have been lost for good — “Steven Moffat Explains How Last Year’s Christmas Special Was Almost The Last”.
In a recent interview, current showrunner Steven Moffat – who will cede the position to newcomer Chris Chibnall after Moffat’s last episode, the upcoming Christmas Special – outlined how the special episode almost didn’t happen this year, and may have been eliminated forever.
As Moffat explains about his discussions with the BBC regarding his departure:
“There was one big glitch, which was Christmas. I was going to leave at the end of series 10 – I had my finale planned and what I wanted to do with it. I had a good notion of that. Then I learned at a drinks event somewhere that Chris didn’t want to start with a Christmas [episode], so at that point they were going to skip Christmas. There’d be no Christmas special and we would’ve lost that slot.
(4) THE NEXT DOCTOR. The BBC tells “How Jodie Whittaker ‘missed’ fan reactions to Doctor Who role” — contains long audio on her reactions (lots of gosh-wow) and on advice she received from former Time Lords (starting at 6:50 on 2nd clip).
Jodie Whittaker says she didn’t see people’s reactions to her becoming the first female Doctor Who, because she’s not on social media.
Speaking to BBC 6 Music in her first broadcast interview since her casting was revealed, she said: “This will be a blessing and a curse.
“I’ve missed a lot of the fun stuff and probably the bad stuff.”
(5) W75 YES, COMICONS, NO. Helsinki-bound book dealer Francesca T. Barbini of Luna Press Publishing answers the question, “Why Do Authors Need To Go To Cons?”, and advises which ones to pick.
On Monday we leave for Finnish shores. Worldcon 75 here we come!
I’m laughing/crying at the logistic nightmare ahead of us: 5 cricket bags full of books! Between the early rise to catch the plane and the dragging of luggage, by the time we reach Helsinki, we’ll feel like Sisyphus in the Underworld. However, the plan is to return home much lighter 🙂 so please, make our authors (and our back) happy and adopt a book!
Conventions are a big part of an author’s life. I cannot imagine being where I am today without my con experience. Specifically, I am referring to book conventions/events, rather than traditional book fairs like London or Frankfurt, and definitely not ComicCons, which are a different matter altogether. The ones I go to are primarily about SF, Fantasy and Horror.
That said, I also realise that I am lucky to be able to attend, as they are also one of the biggest expenses in an author’s yearly schedule, which not everyone can afford, for several reasons. And what if you can’t go? What will people think?
With Worldcon upon us, I want to share my con experience with others and why I think that authors should go to conventions if they can. We’ll look at Pros and Cons as well as tips for when money is an issue…..
(6) THE SENSE OF WONDER IS NOW MAINSTREAM. Never mind the authors aching for Dragon Awards, it used to be that sci-fi shows watched by millions couldn’t get a sniff of the Emmys. Vanity Fair remembers: “From Game of Thrones to Stranger Things: How Geek TV Crashed the Emmys”
In 2005, Emmy voters opened their mail to find a mysterious black envelope stuffed with DVDs. “‘The No. 1 Television Show of 2005’—Time Magazine,” the cover read, without disclosing the title of the program on the discs. The show was Battlestar Galactica, a serious-minded reboot of the campy 1970s series, and the idea was to trick snobby TV Academy members into watching a science-fiction drama without rolling their eyes.
“We were battling the name,” Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore told me recently, of his effort to get colleagues who were making dramas such as The West Wing and 24 to take seriously a show set in a distant star system. “It was considered kiddie stuff: ‘That’s not real TV. It’s people running around in silly outfits. There was real TV and then what we were doing. You couldn’t get a meeting on NYPD Blue,’” Moore said. The black-envelope strategy didn’t work—despite receiving widespread critical acclaim for its writing, acting, and directing, Battlestar Galactica collected nominations only in the visual-effects categories that year.
What a difference a decade or so makes. Fantasy and science-fiction TV are now decidedly prestige TV, as shows such as Moore’s latest—the time-traveling Starz series, Outlander—exist in a crowded world of awards-hungry monsters, zombies, and robots. There’s HBO’s Westworld, which tied Saturday Night Live as the show with the most Emmy nominations this year (22), Netflix’s Stranger Things (18) and Black Mirror (3), Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale (13), USA’s Mr. Robot (3), and Starz’s American Gods (2), to name a few. Many of the shows sit on the shoulders of HBO’s barrier-breaking Game of Thrones, which became the most awarded scripted series in Emmy history last year, with 38 wins. That a cable program featuring chain mail and dragons could shatter a record once held by NBC’s Frasier reveals how much the TV industry has changed. (Due to the timing of its season, Game of Thrones is not eligible for Emmys this year, to the relief of every one of its competitors. Outlander, which has been nominated for three Emmys and four Golden Globes in the past, is out of contention this year for the same reason.)
(7) BEFORE HE WAS SPOCK. While Bill was searching for more clippings about celebrities who love Mexican food (triggered, presumably, by the item about Boris Karloff the other day) he came across this Leonard Nimoy item in The Boston Globe for March 31, 1968 – which has nothing to do with food, but you may like it anyway….
[Leonard Nimoy] was asked to tell the story again about the time he was driving a cab and he picked up John F. Kennedy. “That was in 1956. I was just out of the service and I was driving a cab at night in Los Angeles and looking for acting jobs during the day. I got a call to go to the Bel Air Hotel to pick up a Mr. Kennedy. It was a highly political time — right before the conventions — and Stevenson and Kefauver were running strong. When I got to the Bel Air I asked the doorman if I was waiting for the senator from Massachusetts. He said he didn’t know. When Kennedy came down the doorman whispered to me, ‘Is this guy a senator?’
“As Kennedy got in the cab I said, ‘How are things in Massachusetts, senator? He perked up. He said, ‘Are you from Massachusetts?’ He asked me so many questions — he was very socially-oriented — he asked me why I was in California, where my folks were from, why they came to the U.S. and what they thought about my being an actor. I asked him about Stevenson’s chances and he said, ‘You talk to a lot of people. What do you think?’ I asked him what would happen if Stevenson won the nomination and lost the election. He said ‘He’d be finished politically.’ That was the one flat statement he made about politics. I dropped him at the Beverly Hilton. The fare was $1.25 and he didn’t have any cash in his pocket. He went into the hotel and I followed him, tagging along for my $1.25. He finally found somebody he knew and he borrowed three dollars and he turned around and handed it to me.”
(8) NAKAJIMA OBIT. Vale, kaiju. Rue Morgue reports the death of original Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima.
Very sad news: The man who first portrayed Japanese cinema’s greatest monster has passed on, leaving behind an enormous footprint.
Haruo Nakajima, who donned the rubber suit for the title character of 1954’s GOJIRA (released Stateside as GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS in 1956),
(9) LOS ANGELES UNDERSTOOD. A Bradbury quote begins this LA Times article about the 2028 Olympics: “A dream and a reality, the 2028 Olympics give Los Angeles a chance to imagine its future”.
When asked to explain the secret of Los Angeles on the eve of the 1984 Olympics, the late poet, novelist and fantasist Ray Bradbury broke it down, capturing the ingenuous advantage the city enjoyed as it was coming of age.
“L.A. is a conglomerate of small towns striving toward immensity and never making it, thank God,” he wrote. “We have no kings, queens, or courts, no real pecking order, no hierarchies to prevent those of us who care to lean into creativity from running loose in the big yard.”
(10) BRADBURY’S MARS. Local NPR station KPCC devoted part of today’s Take Two show to “‘The Martian Chronicles:’ An out-of-this-world projection of LA”. Audio clip at the link.
… It doesn’t even take place on this planet, yet this Sci-fi classic by longtime resident Ray Bradbury has a lot to say about L.A. in the early 1950s. David Kipen is a book editor and founder of the Libros Schmibros lending library. You can take Bradbury out of L.A. but you can’t take L.A. out of Bradbury, he says. …
Parallels between native peoples of Earth and Mars
The stories add up to something greater than the sum of their parts. They add up to this parable of what Ray experienced as an immigrant to Southern California where the only remnant left that he could readily see of the Tongva, of the Chumash, were some cave paintings up in Santa Ynez, and a lot of place names like Tujunga – like Topanga. The Native Americans were here but there weren’t where Ray Bradbury grew up on Alexandria or Kenmore in Hollywood. Ray was not going to see much evidence of that. So it’s this sense of a bygone civilization of which only remnants remain. Ray, as a guy coming to LA in the 1930s with his family, was only going to get these kind of ghostly hints of the people who once lived on this same land for thousands of years before. And he transmutes that into the way he presents the Martians as these people very much in sync and in sympathy with the land, and rather otherworldly, and at the same time, endangered.
(11) COMICS SECTION. John King Tarpinian’s radar also spotted the Bradbury reference in today’s Frazz.
(12) WORLDCON PROGRAMMING. Not in Helsinki today? Here’s something else you’ve missed:
Partial lunar eclipse due up in Helsinki in 10 minutes. Because @worldcon75 spare no expense to entertain attendees. 😉
— Cheryl Morgan (@CherylMorgan) August 7, 2017
(13) STILL PACKING. Some may be delayed because their SJW credential is trying to stow away.
— EugeniaTriantafyllou (@FoxesandRoses) August 7, 2017
(14) A SURPRISE. Lou Antonelli, in “First thoughts on the Dragon award”, included this insight about the award’s management:
I’ve been a finalist for both the Sidewise and Hugo awards, and in both cases, if you have made the ballot, you are contacted in advance, and asked if you accept the honor. Sometimes people prefer to take a bye.
Nominations for the Dragon closed July 24, and after a week had passed I assumed I had not made the grade. I was sure of it last Thursday night when I received an email that had a link to the final ballot.
I opened the ballot, to see who HAD made the grade, and was startled to see my name there. The Dragon award apparently is less bureaucratic than some others, I suppose, and they simply released the final ballot the way the nominations fell.
(15) DRAGON WITHDRAWAL. Alison Littlewood preceded John Scalzi in taking herself out of contention with “A statement regarding the Dragon Awards”.
It has just been announced that The Hidden People has been nominated for a Dragon Award.
While this would normally be a great pleasure, it has also been brought to my notice that my book has been selected by a voting bloc who are attempting, for reasons of their own, to influence the awards outcome. Essentially, the same group who set out to fix the Hugo Awards are now encouraging their supporters to follow their voting choices in the Dragon Awards.
I’m grateful to anyone who has voted for The Hidden People in good faith, but I am deeply concerned that the voting should be fair going forward and so I have today emailed the organisers and asked for The Hidden People to be withdrawn from consideration.
I would just like to add that I have had no contact with the voting bloc and indeed have never asked anyone to vote for me in the Dragon Awards. Thank you again to anyone who did so because they enjoyed the book!
(16) THE PROFESSIONALS. Chuck Wendig and Jim C. Hines are working hard to extract the lessons to be learned from this year’s Dragon Awards.
Just saw that mess. Curious how certain folks' award campaigning is all "Let's mock this other author" and zero "My book doesn't suck!"
— Jim C. Hines (@jimchines) August 7, 2017
That does seem to be the obvious takeaway…
— Jim C. Hines (@jimchines) August 7, 2017
I'm so sorry, John. I've just read how your career and sales are plummeting TOTALLY FOR REALSIES this time! My condolences.
— Jim C. Hines (@jimchines) August 7, 2017
*plans Nebula run by talking about how @jimchines keeps his beard fresh with hot llama pee*
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) August 7, 2017
(17) KERFUFFLE LITERARY HISTORY. Doris V. Sutherland will cover some of this year’s Dragon Award nominees as part of a book project: “Dragon Awards 2017: Which Finalists to Write About?”
So yeah, I’ve been working on a book called Monster Hunters, Dinosaur Lovers, about the stories caught up in the whole Puppies-versus-Hugos kerfuffle. I’m planning to cover every single Hugo-nominated prose story published from 2013 to 2016 (the years of the Sad Puppies campaign). I’m also going to look at the nominees for other SF/F awards from the same period – but in those cases I’ll be a little more discriminating about what gets covered and what doesn’t.
With the ballot for the second Dragon Awards announced, my main concern is figuring out which finalists are worth looking at in my book. So here goes…
… Blood of Invidia got a boost from the Puppysphere, and judging by its Amazon synopsis, it’s a jokey, self-aware urban fantasy. Alongside zombie apocalypse, that’s one of the few horror-adjacent genres that the Puppies have shown much support for. Into the horror chapter it goes, alongside Jim Butcher and Declan Finn.
I might give The Hidden People a mention as it was one of Vox Day’s picks, against the author’s wishes. Don’t see that The Bleak December is particularly relevant to my topic, though.
(18) HASSELHOFF. Gwynne Watkins of Yahoo! Movies, in “David Hasselhoff’s Road to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’? ‘It All Started with ‘Knight Rider!’”, interviews actor David Hasselhoff, who says that his part in Guardians came about because director James Gunn loved Knight Rider as a kid. Hasselhoff says “I’ve got the kids market wrapped up” because of his role in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.
Do you have people telling you that a lot that you were a father figure to them because of Knight Rider?
Almost every day, a man comes up to me and says, “I need to tell you my Knight Rider story.” Or a man will tell me that he loves me. Or a person from Thailand will say, “You are my mentor.” Or a person from Afghanistan who’s driving a cab says, “You’re my hero.” I say, “Where are you from?” And he goes, “Afghanistan.” I say, “Oh my God.” Iraq. Iran. It’s just insane. And it’s incredibly fantastic because they all have got a specific story, from India or Pakistan — watching it like Slumdog Millionaire, 200 people around a TV — to the shah of Iran’s wife saying,“We used to sell tickets on the back lawns. People would gather and watch the show illegally by satellite for 25 cents in Iran!” And I’m going, “What? What? What?”
And now, 30 years later, it gets to be in one of the biggest movies of all time. And it’s just still following me around, and I embrace it. The theme of Knight Rider is, “One man can make a difference.” And I’m still alive and proving that, hopefully, almost every day.
(19) VAN HELSING TRAILER. Syfy brings back Van Helsing for a second season.
The world is over and so is the wait. Slay. All Day. Van Helsing returns this Fall with all-new episodes on SYFY. About Van Helsing:
Van Helsing is set in a world that has been taken over by vampires following a volcanic explosion that blocked out the sun. Vanessa Van Helsing is the last hope for survival, as she unknowingly awakens to discover she has a unique blood composition that makes her not only immune to vampires, but with the ability to turn a vampire human. With this secret weapon, Vanessa becomes a prime target for the vampires. Her objective: Save humanity – and find her daughter.
[Thanks to ULTRAGOTHA, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mark-kitteh, Carl Slaughter, Martin Morse Wooster, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bill.]