(1) GOOD OMENS. Shooting began yesterday… After they got Neil Gaiman and Rob Wilkins (Terry’s manager) to return a necessary bit of equipment:
And Terry Pratchett’s account tweeted a photo of David Tennant and Michael Sheen in costume as Crowley and Aziraphale. [H/T to Nerd & Tie blog.]
Terry would be beyond proud today. Thank you David & Michael. pic.twitter.com/vK7gtpl9hK
— Terry Pratchett (@terryandrob) September 18, 2017
(2) HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Joe Sherry gets on the scoreboard with a “Microreview [book]: Provenance, by Ann Leckie” at Nerds of a Feather.
Let’s start like this: Provenance is a novel about family, identity, culture, truth, and what it means to belong. Provenance is set in the universe of Ann Leckie’s earlier Imperial Radch trilogy, but only connects with references and by association. This is not Breq’s Story 2.0. This is the story of a young woman, Ingray, attempting to run a pretty significant con in order to impress her mother, the matriarch of the Aughskold family. She’s a bit out of her league on this one. There’s something about hiring a company to rescue a disgraced member of a rival family out of a prison planet called Compassionate Removal with the hope / assumption that he will be willing to embarrass his family and help hers by providing her with stolen “vestiges” from his family.
A word about vestiges. Vestiges are highly valued historical documents and items, which could range from documents similar to a Declaration of Independence or the American Liberty Bell to an original copy of a famous speech or perhaps some sort of miscellany from some long ago gala where someone famous appeared. The older and the more historical the vestige, the more valuable and the more important the vestige. Vestiges can, in some respects, represent the identity of not only a family, but the heritage of an entire world.
So, what happens when some of the most significant of them are quietly called into question?
(3) HUGO HISTORY. Just like you read in one of those clickbait history articles about some artifact that sat unrecognized on a museum storage shelf for time out of mind, at last someone has recognized the significance of the lists in a 1956 Worldcon progress report. The official Hugo Award site announced the find in “1956 Hugo Award Page Updated”.
Thanks to new information coming to light, we have updated the 1956 Hugo Award history page with the finalists that appeared on the ballot that year. We thank Olav Rokne for bringing to our attention an article on page 15 of the 1956 Worldcon Progress Report 3 that included the names of the finalists along with voting instructions.
Note that the order in which the finalists are listed is the same order that they appeared in the progress report and does not imply order of finish on final ballot. According to the article, the final ballot included space for write-in candidates. In Best Fanzine, one of the winners appears to have been such a write-in. In Best Professional Magazine, no finalists were listed at all, so all votes were write-ins.
Also, Kevin Standlee said in a comment here:
Remember that in those early days, the rules were “whatever the committee says” and were probably first-past-the-post, and quite possibly “close enough, we’ll call it a tie.” We’ll probably never know the full details. Over time, the model for the Hugo Awards has been evolving toward “tell us everything you possibly can short of how each individual person voted.”
(4) LONG LIST 3. David Steffen has launched his Kickstarter for “Long List Anthology Volume 3”, the third edition of an anthology series of stories loved by Hugo voters – this year including stories by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cat Rambo, and others.
The base goal of the campaign will include only the short stories. There will be stretch goals to add novelettes and novellas. The goals listed here include only stories that I’ve heard agreement back from the authors–some queries to authors are still pending, there may be another story or two added as an additional stretch goal. If these stretch goals are reached, I may add on other goals as well.
This project is not endorsed by nor affiliated with the Hugo awards, WSFS, WorldCon, or any associated entities. The Hugo name is used with permission. Please note that the anthology is NOT called “The Hugo Long List Anthology”. It is called “The Long List Anthology”, or the full wordy title: “The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List”. (I’m noting this because it’s pretty commonly referred to by the wrong name)
At this writing people have contributed $1,094 of its $1,700 goal.
(5) THE FUTURE IS NOW. Eliza Angyanwe of The Guardian says of Nnedi Okorafor, “the Nigerian-American writer is flying the flag for black, female geeks” — “‘So many different types of strange’: how Nnedi Okorafor is changing the face of sci-fi”.
As the science fiction novelist Nnedi Okorafor takes to the stage at the TEDGlobal conference in Tanzania, she challenges stereotypes before she has said a word. The 43-year-old writer who won the 2016 Hugo award (the Oscars of the sci-fi world) for best novella doesn’t look like much of a geek. Yes, she wears oversized glasses, but Okorafor’s specs are trendy, royal-blue Cat-Eyes, not wiry aviators. And, crucially, she happens to be a black woman.
The Nigerian-American’s success has been applauded as a victory by a community that has long cheered her on from the margins. So when she tweeted on 11 August that she was working on her first project with the comic publisher Marvel, fans were thrilled. (“A Marvel story. Written by a Nigerian woman. Set in Lagos. Superhero’s name: NGOZI. What a time to be alive,” wrote one fan on Twitter) And with a novel, Who Fears Death, to be adapted for TV by HBO (George RR Martin is its executive producer) Okorafor is about to go from the solitary geek reference-point for young African women to everybody’s favourite new sci-fi writer.
(6) MORE SUPERHEROS. The Teen Titans are coming to CW (well, actually, to DC’s new digital service.)
(7) TODAY IN HISTORY
- September 18, 1973 – Georgia governor (and future President) Jimmy Carter reports a UFO sighting.
- September 18, 1989 – Alien Nation premiered on TV.
- September 13, 2002 – The third incarnation of The Twilight Zone TV series premiered.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- JJ pointed to the devastating “LEGO Friends” comic at Geek x Girls:
Web comic artist M. Patrinos of Seasonal Depression made this clever comic about the questionable marketing decisions LEGO has made to target girls with the “LEGO Friends” line.
- John King Tarpinian enjoyed the swearing-in at The Argyle Sweater.
- And he appreciates Momma’s planetary humor.
(9) GET YOUR SHARE OF SMUGGLED BOOKS. Ana Grilo & Thea James from The Book Smugglers have added a bunch of new signed copies of books as reward levels for donors to “The Book Smugglers: Level Up” Kickstarter.
Thanks to the generosity of some of the best SFF and YA authors out there, we have a number of signed copies of new and upcoming books including but not limited to: Provenance by multiple-award winner Ann Leckie, audiobooks of the astonishingly good Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, both Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem by the incomparable Yoon Ha Lee, the YA time travel Fantasy The Girl With the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke, and many more.
We also have MAPS AND ART! Aliette de Bodard donated a copy of House of Binding Thorns, along with character art by Hugo Award nominated artist M. Sereno! And Megan Whalen Turner is offering signed copies of not only her entire Queen’s Thief series (and we turned that into a SUPER MEGA reward level for SUPER FANS) but also a cool map of that world.
They’re raising money for “A brand new season of short stories and novelettes, new contributors, …a new look and more.” As of today, backers have given $8,068 toward their $16,500 goal, with 16 days to run.
(10) THE POET FROM BEGINNING TIL NOW. SPECPO, in “Monsters and Heroes: An Interview with Bryan D. Dietrich”, quizzes the author of a book-length study on comics, Wonder Woman Unbound, and six books of poems, who’s also co-editor of Drawn to Marvel, the world’s first anthology of superhero poetry, and a past president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.
When are you most satisfied with a poem you’ve written?
When it surprises me.
When it does something I never do.
When it loses control and runs rogue, only to come back to the pack.
When it makes me cry.
When it reminds me why I started writing poems in the first place, which is to say when it lives up to the debt I owe to the language I love.
George Orwell once famously said that a poetry reading is “a grisly thing.” How do you feel about poetry readings?
Well, I think reading about a man having his soul broken in a locked room with a locked cage filled with rats attached to his face is a pretty grisly thing too, but then who am I to judge?
(11) CRACKDOWN ON NAZI COSPLAY. Nerd & Tie’s Trae Dorn reports “Rose City Comic Con Taking Firmer Stance Against Nazi ‘Cosplay’”.
Giving everyone the benefit of the doubt backfired over certain cosplay. We apologize & have updated our policy. https://t.co/o56b3ehIaX
— Rose City Comic Con (@RoseCityCC) September 14, 2017
Cosplayers associated with SS gear; we first thought it was offensive, but permissible. That was wrong & we won't allow it again.
— Rose City Comic Con (@RoseCityCC) September 14, 2017
When you get down to it, there are two kinds of people who put on Nazi cosplay. There are people who are two microfocused on their fandom to think about how what they’re wearing will be perceived by the people around them, and then there are people who are completely aware of it and it’s the whole reason they’re doing it. The former are good people who need to take their convention blinders off (and I’ve been complaining about this issue for a while). The latter though are people who have no place in our community, and we need to take a stand against it as a community.
(12) ASSUME A KINDER, GENTLER ASTEROID. “What if dinosaurs hadn’t died out?” — a fannish preoccupation.
Imagine a world where an asteroid hadn’t wiped out the dinosaurs. What would have happened afterwards – and how might their presence have affected mammals like us?
…Even closer to the present day, dinosaurs would have had to deal with the various ice ages of the past 2.6 million years. But we know that Cretaceous dinosaurs were living above the Arctic Circle. “Maybe in cooler places you would see things with thick and elaborate pelts, covered in fuzz and feathers all the way down to the tips of their toes and tails,” says Naish.
“It wouldn’t have been difficult for a ‘woolly’ tyrannosaurus or dromaeosaur relatives of Velociraptor to evolve,” adds armoured dinosaur expert Victoria Arbour of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada. “Maybe we could have even had shaggy and woolly ceratopsians, ankylosaurs, or hadrosaurs.”
(13) TIPSY SCHADENFREUDE. BBC has the story: “The whiskey toasting the demise of Lehman Brothers bank”. Chip Hitchcock asks, “Perhaps a Maltcon will tell us if it’s any good?”
A London entrepreneur decided that the whole world should be able to taste one of the most profound company collapses in modern times. On 15 September nine years ago 25,000 people lost their jobs when the bank went bankrupt.
James Green says he was inspired to keep the bank’s name alive by the significance of those events.
“After living through the economic disaster of 2008, it really resounded with me. I personally related to it, there were people in my neighbourhood, my family that were personally affected by the crash,” he says.
He says his three different whiskies, one of which is named Ashes of Disaster, have been specially crafted to capture the flavour of the once mighty bank’s fall from grace.
(14) NOTHING IMPORTANT. From the BBC we learn that “Carbon dating reveals earliest origins of zero symbol”.
The Bakhshali manuscript is now believed to date from the 3rd or 4th Century, making it hundreds of years older than previously thought.
It means the document, held in Oxford, has an earlier zero symbol than a temple in Gwailor, India.
The finding is of “vital importance” to the history of mathematics, Richard Ovenden from Bodleian Libraries said.
The zero symbol evolved from a dot used in ancient India and can be seen throughout the Bakhshali manuscript.
Other ancient cultures like the Mayans and Babylonians also used zero symbols, but the dot the Bakhshali manuscript developed a hollow centre to become the symbol we use today.
It was also only in India where the zero developed into a number in its own right, the Bodleian Libraries added
(15) TV GUIDANCE. Do you get Turner Classic Movies? Then you can look forward to a very scary month! So says a blogger at Thought Catalog — “Here Are All The Classic Horror Movies TCM Will Be Airing (Commercial Free!) During October”.
It’s good to see some classic movies getting some love. This year Turner Classic Movies will be airing vintage horror movies all month, and unlike other networks, TCM airs the movies commercial free. If you know someone who needs a good education in the history of horror movies, tell them to tune in.
(17) FAUX WORLDCON BID. Calamity Caitlin rediscovered the exhibit she and a friend made for a Springfield, Vermont Worldcon bid in years gone by. (There are 1+12 tweets, but the chain is broken, so you have to look at her Twitter accountfor September 17 or use this search to see them all.)
— Calamity Caitlin (@squeevening) September 17, 2017
And it ends with this one:
12/12 Dealer's Room ! Ahhhh delicious hometown humor. ???
ps I was joking but OF COURSE it turned out I was dead on about the asbestos ?? pic.twitter.com/W5MZXJ7rhM
— Calamity Caitlin (@squeevening) September 17, 2017
(18) REPLACES DANDELION. Do you want to know what the latest Crayola crayon color is? Well, here’s the link anyway…
The winner was chosen beat out four other names with 40% of the vote in an online naming contest launched in July.
(19) THE HISTORIC DOCUMENTS. Ed Emshwiller’s sf parody short The Thing From Back Issues, made at the Original Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference in the 1950s, was posted online this past summer by Susan Emshwiller. I only recognize one of the writers, although some well-known names were at the 1956 conference, including Robert Silverberg, Cyril Kornbluth, Katherine MacLean, and Lester Del Rey.
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Ana Grilo, Kevin Standlee, Andrew Porter, David Steffen, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. And an overdue credit for iphinome. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]