(1) GET READY TO REFLECT. A new free SF/F e-zine is launching in October, Departure Mirror Quarterly. Editor Art Tracy says –
Our first issue features stories by Kyle Aisteach, Cécile Cristofari, and Evergreen Lee. Readers will be able to pop by the website to download .PDF issues (and hopefully .MOBI and .EPUB, but we don’t have that workflow completely nailed down yet), and we’ve got an e-mail list that can send people the links as each new issue comes out.
(2) THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE. Mark Evanier maintains ”A List of Things I’ve Learned About The Comic Book Industry Since I Got Into It In 1970, Many But Not All Of Which Still Apply” at News From Me. It boasts 125 items. Here are four examples:
30. It is impossible to make a decent living in comics if you don’t love what you do.
49. Colorists often have to make up for the fact that the artist has not bothered to think about the source(s) of light in the panels.
103. If you work in comics for an extended period, look over the books published by the company or companies that buy your work and ask yourself, “What comic am I totally unqualified and ill-suited to work on?” Then prepare for the call where they say, “We discussed it here in the office a lot and decided you’re the perfect person for this job!” It will be that comic.
117. If the hero in the comic you’re writing has a secret identity, you should not do a story in which that secret is threatened or apparently revealed less than twelve years after the previous story in which that hero’s secret identity was threatened or apparently revealed. Fifteen is better.
(3) WHO’S NUMBER ONE? Didn’t someone say there’s no such thing as bad publicity? The Guardian’s Alison Flood reports “JK Rowling’s new thriller takes No 1 spot amid transphobia row”. [Free registration required.]
JK Rowling’s new Robert Galbraith thriller Troubled Blood sold almost 65,000 copies in just five days last week, amid widespread criticism of the author’s decision to include a serial killer who dresses in women’s clothing in the novel….
(4) HERE’S NUMBER TWO. In the series of Uber Eats commercials with Mark Hamill and Patrick Stewart.
And a bonus.
(5) MYERS OBIT. [Item by Steven H Silver.] John J. Myers (b. July 26, 1941), the former archbishop of Newark, died on September 24. Myers was a childhood friend of author Gary K. Wolf and in 2006 they collaborated on the short story “The Unhardy Boys in Outer Space” with Myers adopting the pseudonym Jehane Baptiste because he was worried about how the Vatican would respond to an archbishop writing science fiction. In 2008, they collaborated again on the novel Space Vulture on which his byline was Archbishop John J. Myers.
(6) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
- September 1984 — Thirty six years ago this month, Robert Holdstock’s Mythago Wood was first published in Britain by Gollancz. It would win both the BSFA Award for Best Novel and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. (He never made the final nomination list for any Hugo Award.) It was the first novel in what became the Ryhope Wood series with four more novels (Lavondyss, The Hollowing, Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn and Avilion, plus “The Bone Forest” novella. Merlin’s Wood is sort of connected to this series, as is The Merlin Codex.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born September 24, 1922 — Bert Gordon, 98. Film director most remembered for such SF and horror films as The Amazing Colossal Man, Village of the Giants and The Food of the Gods (based of course on the H.G. Wells’ novel The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth). His nickname “Mister B.I.G.” was a reference both to his initials and to his preference for directing movies featuring super-sized creatures. (CE)
- Born September 24, 1929 – Barbara Ker Wilson, 91. Five dozen short stories in Stories from Scotland; Tales Told to Kabbarli, aboriginal legends collected by Daisy Bates & retold by BKW; Russian Fairy Tales (with Jacqueline Athram). Also The Lost Years of Jane Austen; JA in Australia. Dromkeen Medal. [JH]
- Born September 24, 1930 – Jack Gaughan. So active as both fan and pro artist that he won both Hugos in 1967; for years afterward, Hugo rules provided that no one could be on the ballot in both categories. Art editor for Galaxy doing all the interiors and many covers. Battle of the Titans is his cartoon duel with Vaughn Bodé. Here is his cover for the Lunacon 24 Program Book (see this appreciation by Vincent Di Fate). Here is the Jul 62 Galaxy. Here is Skylark Three. Here is the Sep 86 SF Chronicle. Artbook, Outermost. Five Hugos, as both pro and fan. Skylark Award. SF Hall of Fame. NESFA (New England SF Ass’n) named an award for him. (Died 1985) [JH]
- Born September 24, 1934 — John Brunner. My favorite works by him? The Shockwave Rider, the Hugo Award winning Stand on Zanzibar and The Sheep Look Up. That was easy. What’re your favorite works by him? (Died 1995.) (CE)
- Born September 24, 1936 — Jim Henson. As much as I love The Muppet Show, I think The Storyteller is his best work. That’s not to overlook Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal which are also excellent. (Died 1990.) (CE)
- Born September 24, 1945 –David Drake, 75. Phi Beta Kappa from Univ. Iowa (history and Latin); Duke law school. Hawkeye Distinguished Veteran award. Motorcyclist. Famous for military SF e.g “Hammer’s Slammers”, Republic of Cinnabar Navy (yes, military is from Latin and really means army). Five dozen novels, not counting a score with co-authors where he says the co-author did the real writing; as many shorter stories. See his Website for essays, interviews, newsletters, photos, comments about Mandy Wade Wellman and Kipling, translations of Ovid (“the classics permeate my life; it’s inevitable that they should permeate my work”). [JH]
- Born September 24, 1948 – Elaine Kowalsky. Printmaker; campaigner for artists’ rights. Chaired Design & Artists Copyright Society, their London gallery named for her. Collections, Larger Than Life, Hearts and Vessels. After her death her Diary of an Aging Art Slut at n.paradoxa (see here – PDF) was released from anonymity. Here is Letters from Home. (Died 2005) [JH]
- Born September 24, 1950 – John Kessel, Ph.D., 70. Five novels, seventy shorter stories; reviews in Delap’s, F&SF; essays in NY Rev of SF, SF Eye; interviewed in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Locus, StarShipSofa, Strange Horizons. Two Nebulas (26 years between them the longest in Nebula history), a Shirley Jackson, a Sturgeon, a Tiptree. Paul Green Playwrights prize. [JH]
- Born September 24, 1951 — David Banks, 69. During the Eighties, he was the Cyberleader on Doctor Who in all the stories featuring the Cybermen — Earthshock (Fifth Doctor story), The Five Doctors, Attack of the Cybermen (Sixth Doctor story), and Silver Nemesis (Seventh Doctor story). In 1989, he played the part of Karl the Mercenary in the Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure stage play. There were two performances where he appeared as The Doctor as he replaced Jon Pertwee who had fallen ill. (CE)
- Born September 24, 1957 — Brad Bird, 63. Animator, director, screenwriter, producer, and occasionally even a voice actor whom I’m going to praise for directing The Iron Giant, The Incredibles (winner of Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form at Interaction), Incredibles 2 and Tomorrowland. He’s the voice of Edna Mode in both the Incredibles films. (CE)
- Born September 24, 1960 – Pete Young, 60. Our man in Thailand, with Big Sky, The White Notebooks, Zoo Nation; co-edited four issues of Journey Planet. Reviews in Foundation, Strange Horizons, Vector. Three Nova Awards, three FAAn (Fan Activity Achievement) Awards. [JH]
- Born September 24, 1962 – Bruce Jensen, 58. Two hundred covers, a dozen interiors. Here is Bug Jack Barron. Here is the mid-Dec 95 Analog. Here is Goblin Moon. Here is Lord of Light. Here is Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. Jack Gaughan Award. [JH]
- Born September 24, 1965 — Richard K. Morgan, 55. The Takeshi Kovacs novels are an awesome series which is why I haven’t watch the video series. His fantasy series, A Land Fit For Heroes, is on my TBR, well my To Be Listened To pile now. I’ll will admit that The Thirteenth Man was repugnant enough in its sexism and other stereotypes that I gave up on it. And yes, I read Thin Air, the sequel first and it’s quite excellent. (CE)
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side records an astonishing paleontological discovery.
- Bliss hints at how those green eggs and ham get scrambled.
- Bizarro depicts a bestseller’s school days.
- Incidental Comics’ Grant Snider needs a title.
(9) BE SEATED. Minneapolis’ DreamHaven bookstore has installed a new Captain Marvel bench.
For many years Batman has stood guard outside DreamHaven offering a pleasant place to sit and rest for many local residents of Minneapolis. After enduring inclement weather and normal wear and tear, Batman protected the store during the recent civil unrest and was heavily damaged and broken. Batman has been retired to a well-earned rest.
Taking his place is a new Golden-Age Captain Marvel (Shazam) bench. Both benches were designed and constructed by our good friend, Joe Musich, who has been a comics fan and a very-much appreciated DreamHaven customer for many years. Joe is a retired high-school teacher who attends Comic Con most every year. We salute Joe and his love of Captain Marvel and are honored to have The Big Red Cheese standing guard over our store.
(10) WELCOME TO THE ISLAND OF TSUNDOKU. [Item by Olav Rokne.] A resort in the Maldives is looking for someone who loves books to run a book shop on the island. I can’t imagine that there’s a Filer that wants such an onerous gig. The Guardian reports: “‘Barefoot bookseller’ sought to run island bookshop in Maldives”.
… When the position of “barefoot bookseller” was previously advertised, Blackwell received thousands of applications from people desperate to escape the grind of daily life.
“Last time we had everybody from the White House press corps to film directors, lawyers, IT managers, beach poets, retired librarians,” said Blackwell, who is a member of the British bookselling family that sold their chain in 2006. “What works best is somebody with bookselling experience. They’ve got to love people and selling books, and they’ve got to know about books. They’ve also got to be adventurous because this is not for somebody to sit in a bookshop eight hours a day, this is for people to get out there, engage with guests and help people on their reading journey, because reading for pleasure is a muscle that, like any other muscle in the body, is traditionally under-used until people go on holiday.”
(11) THE KING. Nikkolas Smith posted a photo on Instagram of a new mural he did at Downtown Disney honoring Chadwick Boseman.
(12) WHAT CAN BE SAID AT ALL CAN BE SAID CLEARLY, “The Philosopher And The Detectives: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Enduring Passion For Hardboiled Fiction” at CrimeReads.
The scene is London; the year, 1941. Ludwig Wittgenstein, likely the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century, has taken a hiatus from his Cambridge professorship to do “war work” in a menial position at Guy’s Hospital. By the time he arrives there, in September, the worst of the Blitz is over, but there’s no way of knowing that—the bombing could begin again any night. Wittgenstein serves as a dispensary porter, meaning he pushes a big cart from ward to ward, delivering medicine to patients. He’s 52 years old, small and thin, not to say frail. He writes in a letter that sometimes after work he can “hardly move.”
To John Ryle, brother of Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle, Wittgenstein explains his reason for volunteering in London: “I feel I will die slowly if I stay there [in Cambridge]. I would rather take the chance of dying quickly.”
Wittgenstein’s time at Guy’s Hospital is an especially lonely period in a lonely life. Socially awkward in the extreme, he does not endear himself to his coworkers. Although it soon gets out, he initially hopes to conceal that he’s a professor in regular life, hating the prospect of being treated differently. But he is different. His attempts to hide in plain sight must strike everyone as yet another eccentricity.
Nevertheless, he makes at least one friend at the hospital, a fellow staffer named Roy Fouracre. After some time, Fouracre is permitted to visit Wittgenstein in his room, a rare privilege with the reclusive philosopher. Crossing the threshold into Wittgenstein’s private quarters, Fouracre must expect to find books everywhere, hefty, awe-inspiring tomes by Aristotle and Kant and the like. Nothing of the sort. The only reading material in evidence is “neat piles of detective magazines.”
… When American pulps became scarce in the U.K. during and after World War II, Wittgenstein relied on American philosopher Norman Malcolm to send them in care packages from the States. “Thanks a lot for the detective mags,” he wrote Malcolm in 1948. “I had, before they arrived, been reading a detective story by Dorothy Sayers, & it was so bl[oody] foul that it depressed me. Then when I opened one of your mags it was like getting out of a stuffy room into the fresh air.” Wittgenstein’s favorite “mag” was Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine, which he preferred—simply out of habit, it seems—to the similar and now more widely remembered Black Mask.
(13) HONEST, FOLKS. Fandom Games’ Honest Game Trailer on Marvel’s Avengers dropped two days ago.
[Thanks to JJ, Michael Toman, Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, Mike Kennedy, John Hertz, John King Tarpinian, Steven H Silver, Olav Rokne, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributig editor of the day Daniel “The Chairman of the Board” Dern.]