(1) POKER. Terri Ash and Ariela Housman of Geek Calligraphy say they will put out an online fanzine at the end of the year “to provide a publication venue for fan art that is otherwise excluded from the Fan Artist Hugo award eligibility criteria”: “Announcing the Launch of The Very Official Dead Dog Art Zine”
Well, we’re putting our money where our mouths are. It’s important to us that there be as much access to Hugo Award eligibility as possible. That means both fixing the constitution (the root problem) and also providing an outlet for people while the amendment is ratified.
The only submission criteria for the Very Official Dead Dog Art Zine is that you follow our submission template. That’s it. The entire point of this zine is that everyone’s art is worthy of inclusion. There is no jury, no one will tell you that your art isn’t good enough. You made it. That’s enough for us.
“The Very Official Dead Dog Art Zine” Tagline: “Because Nothing Pokes Someone In The Eye Like a Really Big Stick”
In 2019 the Hugo Committee ruled that, for the purposes of the Best Fan Artist category, art that has only been displayed online does not meet the requirements of this definition.
However! Fanzines that only exist online still count. (Don’t think too hard about this logic, it goes nowhere.) By publishing this zine at the very end of the year, we are offering a last rules-compliant venue for potential fan artists to display work they finished too late to display anywhere else.
Dublin 2019 Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte declined to comment when I asked him whether the above statement is an accurate corollary to the ruling he gave them about what could be allowed in last year’s Hugo Voter Packet, i.e., that art from an online fanzine would have satisfied his interpretation of the rules.
(2) WHAT DO THESE NUMBERS MEAN? This week two different writers have posted Hugo statistics showing the male/female ratio of nominees over the course of the award’s history. The Fantasy Inn created a animated graphic about the Best Novel category.
James Davis Nicoll ran the stats for all the fiction categories in “Gender and the Hugo Awards, by the Numbers” at Tor.com.
When I heard people were apparently upset about the gender balance of this year’s Hugo winners, I thought I could give the records a quick eyeball
and fill the empty abyss of daily existence for a short timeestablish once and for all whether or not this year was particularly atypical. If there’s one thing known about human nature, it is that concrete numbers resolve all arguments.
When questioned about the purpose of his post, James Davis Nicoll said, “Actually, I just like counting stuff. I don’t know why people read agendas into a presentation of numerical data.”
For myself I’d say — I read all six novels on the Hugo ballot. There wasn’t one I thought didn’t belong. The field was surprisingly strong. And the book I expected to like the least (before I’d read any of them) is the one I ended up voting in first place. Does this ballot need to be defended?
(3) DINO ROCK. The third Jurassic World movie is scheduled for a 2021 release. Meantime, Director Colin Trevorrow is keeping up interest. He’s unveiling another short dinosaur adventure September 15 on FX.
(4) MORE TO READ. James Davis Nicoll scouts ahead and finds “Five Collections of Classic SF Ready for Rediscovery” at Tor.com.
Time erodes. Time erodes author reputations. When new books stop appearing, old readers forget a once favorite author and new readers may never encounter writers who were once well known.
It’s fortunate that we live in something of a golden age of reprints, whether physical books or ebooks. This is also the golden age of finding long-out-of-print books via online used book services. Now authors perhaps unjustly forgotten can reach new readers. I’ve been reminded of a few such authors; let me share a few of them with you.
(5) A THEORY ABOUT SFF FANS. After rereading John W. Campbell Jr.’s The Moon is Hell! James Wallace Harris asked himself, “Why Read Outdated Science Fiction?” Bear in mind this answer comes from the fan who writes the Classics of Science Fiction blog.
…Reading “The Moon is Hell!” showed me I didn’t care about science. Nor did I care about Campbell’s growing bad reputation. The story is everything. That’s what it comes down to. I’m also in a Facebook group that’s discussing “In the Walls of Eryx” by H. P. Lovecraft, another outdated story about intelligent life on Venus by another shunned writer. Again, it’s the story stupid.
We don’t read for facts. We don’t care about literary standing or the author’s morality. Few readers compare the books in their collection to find the best one to read next. We select books on random whims. If the story grabs us we keep reading. Readers are simple creatures of habit. I could clear a shelf of my books without looking at the titles and it wouldn’t matter, because I’ve got plenty more to randomly grab.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born September 11, 1856 — Richard Ganthony. Playwright of A Message from Mars: A Story Founded on the Popular Play by Richard Ganthony which is a genre version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Really, it is. Published in 1912, it was filmed twice, both times as A Message from Mars (1913 and 1921) and I’m assuming as silent movies given their dates. It would be novelized by Lester Lurgan. (Died 1924.)
- Born September 11, 1928 — Earl Holliman, 91. He’s in the cook in Forbidden Planet and he shares a scene with Robbie the Robot. A few short years later, he’s Conrad in Visit to a Small Planet though it’ll be nearly fifteen before his next genre role as Harry Donner in the Six Million Dollar Man’s Wine, Women and War TV film. He shows up as Frank Domino in the Night Man series, an adaption of a Malibu Comics’ Ultraverse character. What the Frell is that publisher?!? Surprisingly he’s done no other genre series beyond being in the original Twilight Zone series premiere as Mick Ferris in the “Where Is Everybody?” episode.
- Born September 11, 1929 — Björn Nyberg. A Swedish writer known largely for his Conan stories which given that he wrote just one non-Conan story makes sense. His first book in the series was The Return of Conan which was revised for publication by L. Sprague de Camp. Likewise, they later did Conan the Avenger, Conan the Victorious, Conan the Swordsman and Sagas of Conan. The latter two are available on iBooks and Kindle. (Died 2004.)
- Born September 11, 1930 — Jean-Claude Forest. Forest became famous when he created Barbarella, which was originally published in France in V Magazine in 1962. In 1967 it was adapted by Terry Southern and Roger Vadim and made into 1968 film of that name, with him acting as design consultant. It was considered an adult comic by the standards of the time. (Died 1998.)
- Born September 11, 1934 — Ian Abercrombie. He played a most excellent and proper Alfred Pennyworth on Birds of Prey, a Professor Crumbs in Wizards of Waverly Place, was Wiseman in Army of Darkness and Palpatine in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. (Died 2012.)
- Born September 11, 1941 — Kirby McCauley. Literary agent and editor, who as the former who represented authors such as Stephen King, George R.R. Martin and Roger Zelazny. And McCauley chaired the first World Fantasy Convention, an event he conceived with T. E. D. Klein and several others. As Editor, his works include Night Chills: Stories of Suspense, Frights, Frights 2, and Night Chills. (Died 2014.)
- Born September 11, 1952 — Sharon Lee, 67. She is the co-author with Steve Miller of the Liaden universe novels and stories which are quite excellent reading. They won Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction in 2012.
- Born September 11, 1960 — William Tienken. Mike has an obituary here. (Died 2014.)
- Born September 11, 1965 — Catriona (Cat) Sparks, 54. Winner of an astounding thirteen Ditmar Awards for writing, editing and artwork, her most recent in 2014 when her short story “Scarp” was awarded a Ditmar for Best Short Story and The Bride Price a Ditmar for Best Collected Work. She has just one novel to date, Lotus Blue, but has an amazing amount of short stories which are quite stellar. Lotus Blue and The Bride Price are both available on iBooks and Kindle. Off to buy both now.
(7) COMICS SECTION.
(8) 91 PIECES OF ART ON THE WALL. …Take one down and write a big check…. Lots of great-looking artwork and all for sale. IX Gallery calls the exhibition — “Amaitzing: Don Maitz”.
IX Gallery is pleased to bring forth a veritable cornucopia of Maitz for your purchasing pleasure!
(9) ELLISON AT IGUANACON II. At the end of this Reddit post — “My Harlan Ellison photo – 1978” – is a link to the photo itself.
This is my Harlan Ellison story: I saw & met him in 1978 at the World Science Fiction Convention in Phoenix AZ over the Labor Day weekend. It was IguanaCon II, the 36th Worldcon, and Harlan was the Guest of Honor.
Harlan had boasted that he could write anywhere, any time — so the con organizers put up a clear plastic tent in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency, gave him a table, a chair, a manual typewriter, and a ream of paper… and there he sat, for much of three or four days, banging out a short story while fans went about their way. The result was “Count the Clock that Tells the Time”.
(10) DIAL M FOR MOTIONLESS. Writing for Gizmodo’s io9 (“The Beautifully Dull Paradox of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, 40 Years Later”), it’s clear from the get go that James Whitbrook cares little for ST:TMP as a film even as he acknowledges its place in wider Trek fandom.
Forty years ago a landmark moment in Star Trek’s history arrived, in the form of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It’s an important chapter in the series’ survival, the turning point from canceled cult classic to enduring icon of science fiction. But there is a reason we remember The Motion Picture’s place in history more than we remember The Motion Picture: It’s boring as all hell.
As fans across America prepare to revisit TMP this month in celebratory screenings ahead of its actual 40th birthday this December, what they’re about to re-experience is a moment in history that is perhaps best remembered as such than for what it actually is. The Motion Picture’s existence is paradoxical. It’s both an important moment to be remembered, and a movie so cosmically overwrought and forgettable that to contemplate seeing it again in the dark environment of a movie theater once more is to challenge your eyelids to an existential test of endurance.
(11) NOT PETS. How do you move a lot of rocks? Very carefully: “Cambridge museum’s 150-tonne rock collection moves to new home”.
Geologists have begun the process of moving a museum’s 150-tonne “mountain” of fossils, rocks and dinosaur bones to a new climate-controlled home.
The vast hoard, ranging from mammoth tusks to meteorites, has been collected by the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge since it was founded in 1728.
It includes exhibits from Charles Darwin’s Beagle voyage and Scott’s British Antarctic Expedition of 1913.
Museum director Liz Hide said it had “enormous potential” for researchers.
The two-year move involves transferring about two million specimens from the university’s Atlas Building to the £2m Colin Forbes collection centre in west Cambridge.
…The Sedgwick Museum is considered one of the largest and most historically important centres for rocks, minerals and fossils in the world, attracting global research teams.
It boasts giant Jurassic ammonites, intact ichthyosaur fossils and mammoth tusks unearthed locally – with some pieces thought to be more than 200 million years old.
Of course, the BBC uses the opportunity to pun out an obsolete measurement:
…Museum conservator Sarah Wallace-Johnson said the climate would be controlled to prevent rust and corrosion, as “rocks are surprisingly sensitive things”.
“We’re moving about 15,000 drawers of rocks – with an average weight of 10 kilos each – it is literally moving a mountain,” she said.
“Each column of drawers alone is about 300 kilos (47 stones).”
(12) HUGO REVIVAL. Maybe you visited its original location? “Legendary Boston bookstore reopens in Lee barn” – SeacoastOnline has the details.
When Avenue Victor Hugo Books met the end of its nearly 30-year run on Boston’s Newbury Street, the building’s monthly rent had been raised from $12,000 to $25,000, and Diesel Jeans was slated to move in.
That was 2004. The redolent, woody fragrance of cedar and oak, emanating from millions of crusty pages in a dusty atmosphere — held dearly by those who valued the space as a literary haven — faded away.
Fifteen years later, the store is newly located in a bucolic red barn in Lee, beside a white farmhouse where owner Vincent McCaffrey now lives with his wife, Thais Coburn, and their daughter and son-in-law. After moving to Lee three years ago, McCaffrey and Colburn decided to revive the erudite escape.
It’s a reincarnation of the Back Bay shop, with the same wistfulness and feeling of being homesick, yet not knowing what for. But in New Hampshire, the barn is rent-free and has its own parking. There’s also little-to-no traffic on the quiet country road.
Avenue Victor Hugo opened in 1975, following McCaffrey’s ventures selling books from a pushcart and working as a desk clerk at a city hotel….
(13) GOT LACTOSE? “Earliest direct evidence of milk consumption” – BBC has the story.
Scientists have discovered the earliest direct evidence of milk consumption by humans.
The team identified milk protein entombed in calcified dental plaque (calculus) on the teeth of prehistoric farmers from Britain.
It shows that humans were consuming dairy products as early as 6,000 years ago – despite being lactose intolerant.
This could suggest they processed the raw milk into cheese, yoghurt or some other fermented product.
This would have reduced its lactose content, making it more palatable.
The team members scraped samples of plaque off the teeth, separated the different components within it and analysed them using mass spectrometry.
They detected a milk protein called beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) in the tartar of seven individuals spanning early to middle Neolithic times.
…Genetic studies of ancient populations from across Eurasia show that lactase persistence only became common very recently, despite the consumption of milk products in the Neolithic. The mutation had started to appear by the Bronze Age, but even at this time, it was only present in 5-10% of Europeans
(14) ON THE BLOCK. Profiles in History is running an Icons and Legends of Hollywood Auction on September 25-26. The goodies include —
• “SS Venture” steamship filming miniature from King Kong (1933).
• “Dorothy Gale” scene specific screen used black and white gingham pinafore from The Wizard of Oz.
• 20th Century-Fox President Spyros Skouras’s Best Picture Academy Award for Gentleman’s Agreement.
• Orson Welles “Charles Foster Kane” coat from Citizen Kane.
• Marilyn Monroe “Clara” nightgown from A Ticket To Tomahawk.
• Property from the estate of Martin Landau including his Golden Globe awards for Mission: Impossible and Ed Wood.
• The very first Emmy Award for “Best Film Made for Television” ever presented.
• Original “Dragula” coffin dragster from The Munsters and Munster, Go Home!
• Original Type-2 Phaser Pistol used in the Star Trek: TOS episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” – from the collection of Nichelle Nichols.
(15) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “One Unique Creature” on Vimeo, Frances Haszard explores a mysterious hotel.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Chris Rose, JJ, Michael J. Walsh, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]