(1) OLD HOME PLANET WEEK. ScienceFiction.com reports “LeVar Burton Expects Geordi La Forge To Pop Up On ‘Star Trek: Picard’”.
LeVar Burton says that he expects to be invited to appear as Geordi La Forge on the upcoming CBS All Access series ‘Star Trek: Picard’ starring his old ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ captain Patrick Stewart. Furthermore, Burton expects other cast members to return as well. But not all at the same time.
“Each of us, I would say certainly, right? It is unreasonable to assume that he doesn’t know those people anymore, or that he stopped talking to them. And if he did there’s good storytelling in why. Are you gonna see all of us together, again, in a scene or episode? I don’t know. There’s a lot of paper that needs to be papered, before we get there.”
(2) GENTLEMEN, BE SEATED. The latest Two Chairs Talking podcast with Perry Middlemiss and David Grigg is a discussion of fanzines highlighted by an interview with Bruce Richard Gillespie: “Episode 7: All this I speak in print, for in print I found it”.
(3) FOLLOW THE MONEY. The Bank of England reveals the new face on its £50 note: “Alan Turing to feature on new £50 note”
Alan Turing, the scientist known for helping crack the Enigma code during the second world war and pioneering the modern computer, has been chosen to appear on the new £50 note.
The mathematician was selected from a list of almost 1,000 scientists in a decision that recognised both his role in fending off the threat of German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic and the impact of his postwar persecution for homosexuality.
The announcement by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, completes the official rehabilitation of Turing, who played a pivotal role at the Bletchley Park code and cipher centre.
(4) FILLING THE INTELLECTUAL PANTRY. The latest Kittysneezes podcast episode concerns a topic that Filers might find very provocative. It’s called Reed Gud, Part 1, or Other Books Than ‘Harry Potter’ Exist:
In this week’s episode, R.S. Benedict is joined by Gareth and Langdon of Death Sentence, a podcast about books for people who hate books, podcasts and capitalism but like metal. And in order to Rite Gud, you’ve got to Reed Gud — in particular, why you need to read books other than Harry Potter.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with reading and enjoying Harry Potter. But you also need to read other books. Cultural intake is like a diet. There’s nothing wrong with eating chicken fingers and fries sometimes, but to be healthy you really need a variety of foods, and as an adult you probably should develop a more refined palate than just eating the same tater tots and spaghettiOs you lived on as a kid.
(5) SHORT SFF RECS. Rocket Stack Rank’s Eric Wong says, “RSR’s monthly ratings for July 2019 has been posted with 10 RSR-recommended stories out of 70 reviewed.” — “July 2019 Ratings”.
Here are some quick highlights by pivoting the July Ratings by story length, new writers, and authors. (Click links to see the different views.)
- Length: 4 novellas (2 recommended), 21 novelettes (5 recommended, 3 free online), 45 short stories (3 recommended).
- New Writers: 9 stories by Campbell-eligible writers (1 recommended, free online).
- Authors: 5 authors out of 65 had more than one story here: Leah Cypess, Tegan Moore, Dominica Phetteplace, Natalia Theodoridou, and Nick Wolven.
(6) LIU AND KOWAL IN NYT. [Item by Daniel Dern.] The Sunday July 15, 2019 NY Times dead-tree edition has a special section, The Next Leap — articles and photos on space exploration, including two by sf’ers:
- p 22, “Words From An Upside-Down World,” by Ken Liu (online title, “Messages on the Moon From a World Turned Upside Down”.)
- pp 24-25, “In Space, Unisex Won’t Fly,” by Hugo-winner Mary Robinette Kowal. (not online yet)
Lots of pages of pix, not sure whether all will be online.
(7) DC IN 2021 DISSENT. Nick Larter, who identifies himself as a Dublin 2019 member, tweeted the following message about a motion he may submit to the business meeting:
I am extremely disquieted by the idea that in a few weeks, we, the international science fiction community, will probably be rubber-stamping a Worldcon in the United States for 2021.
If the 2021 Worldcon goes ahead in Washington DC, then it is going to transpire that some science fiction fans who would like to attend are going to be prevented from doing so, because of their nationality, religion, or ethnicity, on account of the current immigration policies of the US. More still will run the risk of intrusive personal inconvenience or other unacceptable disruption to their travel plans, during the immigration process.
As evidence of this I cite the recent news that last year, Star Wars actor Riz Ahmed, was prevented by the US authorities from attending a US event relating to the movie. If this can happen to a public figure like Ahmed, how many ordinary fans are going to get caught up?
In all honesty, I don’t understand why the Washington DC bidders haven’t looked at the current situation in the US and said, “Y’know what, this won’t do, so we’re just going to put on plans on hold for a few years, until the open, welcoming America we once knew and loved, has come back again.”
For these reasons, I believe that our community, which has an excellent record of embracing diversity and inclusivity of all kinds, has a duty to reject Washington DC as the venue for the 2021 Worldcon. It would be grossly delinquent of us to act in any other way.
The WSFS Constitution provides for what to do if members reject the eligible bids, but as I recall, it doesn’t authorize the business meeting to refuse to seat a bid picked by site selection voters. If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me in five… four… three…
(8) DRAGON AWARDS DEADLINE. The Red Panda Fraction reminds everyone that the deadline for the nominations for the 2019 Dragon Awards is this Friday, July 19. Here’s the link to the nominations page. The Pandas have also borrowed an idea from Renay and created an eligible works spreadsheet:
We also had many more people work on the Dragon Awards Google Docs spreadsheet (Dragon Awards Eligible Works 2019) this year since we got it up much earlier than last year. The anonymous contributors did a lot of work and even added extra information about possible nominees that I hadn’t thought of. It should make it easier for folks to find nominees.
(9) SHECHTER OBIT. Andi Malala Shechter died this morning, at the end of a months-long battle with an aggressive cancer called a glioblastoma, stage 4, otherwise known as glioblastoma multiforme.
Shechter lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and Seattle over the years. Her time in fandom dates at least to the New York Star Trek conventions of the Seventies. Toward the end of that decade she married Alva Rogers (1923-1982), who had co-chaired the 1968 Worldcon. In the Eighties, she moved to Boston, was active in Boskones, and served as a division head for Noreascon 3, the 1989 Worldcon. In the Nineties, she moved to Seattle with her long-time partner, Stu Shiffman (1954-2014).
Shechter was a powerful force in both sff and mystery fandom. She wrote numerous mystery reviews, and twice chaired Left Coast Crime, in 1997 and again in 2007. She was named fan guest of honor of LCC in 2001.
In 2013 Andi and Stu, who had been together for 25 years, announced their engagement. At the time Stu was trying to recover from a stroke. On June 18, 2014 they married in a ceremony at University of Washington’s Burke Museum with nearly 100 in attendance. Very sadly, Stu passed away before the end of the year.
Many of Andi’s friends are leaving tributes on her Facebook page – some are set to public, others are set to closer accessibility.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 15, 1769 — Clement C. Moore. I know it’s High Summer, but it’s His Birthday. Author of the Christmas poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, first published anonymously in 1823 which led to some bitter dispute over who wrote it. It later became much better known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” (Died 1863.)
- Born July 15, 1796 — Thomas Bulfinch. Author of Bullfinch’s Mythology, which I’m certain I had in at least several University courses taught by older white males. They are the classic myths without unnecessary violence, sex, or ethnographic background. And heterosexual of course as Bullfinch was an ardent anti-homosexual campaigner. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology would mercifully supersede it. (Died 1867.)
- Born July 15, 1918 — Dennis Feltham Jones. His first novel Colossus was made into Colossus: The Forbin Project. He went on to write two more novels in the series, The Fall of Colossus and Colossus and the Crab, which in my opinion became increasingly weird. iBooks and Kindle have the Colossus trilogy plus a smattering of his other works available. (Died 1981.)
- Born July 15, 1927 — Joe Turkel, 92. I first noticed him as Lloyd, the ghostly bartender in The Shining followed by his being Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner. He’s the Sheriff in Village of the Giants based somewhat off on H.G. Wells’ The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, Malcolm (uncredited) in Visit to a Small Planet and Paxton Warner in The Dark Side of the Moon. Series wise, he’s been on Fantasy Island, Tales from the Dark Side, Land of the Giants and One Step Beyond.
- Born July 15, 1931 — Clive Cussler, 88. Pulp author. If I had to pick his best novels, I’d say that would be Night Probe and Raise the Titantic, possibly also Vixen 03. His real-life National Underwater and Marine Agency, a private maritime archaeological group has found several important wrecks including the Manassas, the first ironclad of the civil war.
- Born July 15, 1944 — Jan-Michael Vincent. First Lieutenant Jake Tanner in the film version of Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley which somehow I’ve avoided seeing so far. Is it worth seeing? Commander in Alienator and Dr. Ron Shepherd in, and yes this is the name, Xtro II: The Second Encounter. Not to mention Zepp in Jurassic Women. (Don’t ask.) If Airwolf counts as genre, he was helicopter pilot and aviator Stringfellow Hawke in it. (Died 2019.)
- Born July 15, 1957 — Forest Whitaker, 62. His best known genre roles are such as in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as Saw Gerrera and in The Black Panther as Zuri. He’s had other genre appearances including Major Collins in Body Snatchers, Nate Pope in Phenomenon, Ker in Battlefield Earth for which he was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor, Ira in Where the Wild Things Are, Jake Freivald In Repo Men (anyone see this?) and he was, and though I’ve somehow managed not to see any of it, Host of Twilight Zone.
- Born July 15, 1963 — Brigitte Nielsen, 56. Red Sonja! What’d a way to launch your film career. Mind you her next genre films were 976-Evil II and Galaxis…
- Born July 15, 1967 — Christopher Golden, 52. Where to start? The Veil trilogy was excellent as was The Hidden Cities series co-authored with Tim Lebbon. The Menagerie series co-authored with Thomas E. Sniegoski annoyed me because it never got concluded. Straight On ‘Til Morning is one damn scary novel.
- Born July 15, 1979 — Laura Benanti, 40. Her foremost genre role was was a dual one as Alura Zor-El and Astra In-Ze on Supergirl. Interestingly she took on that role on CBS just before assuming the role as Melania Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, another CBS property. She also has a long theatrical career including playing The Goddess in The Tempest and Cinderella in Into the Woods.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
- Bizarro researchers pursue the nuclear typo.
(12) YMMV. According to Food & Wine, “Twinkies Cereal Could Be Part of Your Balanced Hostess Snack Cake-Themed Breakfast”.
The idea of turning a Hostess snack cake into cereal isn’t totally insane. That was proven by the first two Hostess products that were introduced in bowl-worthy form courtesy of Post last year: Honey Bun Cereal and Donettes Cereal. Both honey buns and mini-donuts can be breakfast. Are they the healthiest breakfasts? Obviously not. But probably most everyone reading this has eaten one of those things for breakfast in the past — and at the very least, if someone told you they ate a Hostess Honey Bun or a pack of Donettes for breakfast, you wouldn’t stare them down in disgust. However, if someone told you they ate a Twinkie for breakfast…
(13) TONIGHT’S JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter reports the game show’s latest stfnal reference. (Photo by Brett Cox.)
Final Jeopardy – Women Authors
Answer: An award for works of horror, dark fantasy & psychological suspense honors this author who came to fame with a 1948 short story.
Wrong question: “Who is Ayn Rand?”
Correct question: “Who is Shirley Jackson?”
(14) THE NEW NORMAL? NPR observes that “Climate Change Fuels Wetter Storms — Storms Like Barry”.
People across southern Louisiana are spending the weekend worried about flooding. The water is coming from every direction: the Mississippi River is swollen with rain that fell weeks ago farther north, and a storm called Barry is pushing ocean water onshore while it drops more rain from above.
It’s a situation driven by climate change, and one that Louisiana has never dealt with, at least in recorded history. And it’s raising questions about whether New Orleans and other communities are prepared for such an onslaught.
“It is noteworthy that we’re in our 260th day of a flood fight on the Mississippi River, the longest in history, and that this is the first time in history a hurricane will strike Louisiana while the Mississippi River has been at flood stage,” said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in response to a question about climate change at a Friday news conference.
(15) WORKS BEST WHEN YOU DON’T USE YOUR BIRTHDAY. “Computer password inventor dies aged 93” – BBC has the story.
Computer pioneer Fernando Corbato, who first used passwords to protect user accounts, has died aged 93.
…Dr Corbato reportedly died as a result of complications caused by diabetes.
…He joined MIT in 1950 to study for a doctorate in physics, but realised during those years that he was more interested in the machines that physicists used to do their calculations than in the subject itself.
Using computers during the 50s was an exercise in frustration because the huge, monolithic machines could only handle one processing job at a time.
In a bid to overcome this limitation, Dr Corbato developed an operating system for computers called the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).
…Passwords were introduced to CTSS as a way for users to hide away the files and programs they were working on from others on the same machine.
(16) BASTILLE STORMED BY FLYBOARD. BBC video shows “Bastille Day: Flyboard takes part in military display”.
The annual Bastille Day parade, marking the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, has been taking place in Paris.
Over 4,000 military personnel and more than 100 aircraft took part in ceremonies, with crowds entertained by inventor Franky Zapata and his futuristic flyboard.
(17) DISTRACTED DRIVING. BBC is there for “Monsters and power-ups in new go-kart experience” (video).
An experience which allows go-kart drivers to race against each other while shooting virtual monsters and picking up power-ups has been developed.
Drivers wear a Magic Leap headset which allows them to see the augmented reality elements of the track.
(18) A HUNK OF BURNIN’ LOVE. NPR says the Feds have found another place to put a wall: “Federal Clampdown On Burning Man Imperils Festival’s Free Spirit Ethos, Say Burners”.
Burning Man started three decades ago as a low-key gathering of friends who celebrated summer solstice on a West Coast beach by setting a wooden man aflame.
Now, event organizers say the counterculture gathering of arts, music and communal living is eyeing attendance in the six figures, leading to a months-long struggle with federal regulators over whether its swelling size will cause long-term harm to the environment and even make the event vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
The battle is heating up as Burning Man officials attempt to secure a new 10-year permit to allow the August gathering in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to jump from its current capacity of 80,000 to 100,000. But the Bureau of Land Management is clamping down.
In a recent report assessing Burning Man’s environmental impact, the BLM capped the festival population at 80,000, citing an abundance of trash generated by the thousands of revelers and a host of safety concerns for eventgoers as well as for the federally protected land.
A preliminary report from the BLM called for new regulations, including an attendance cap, mandatory security screenings and a concrete barrier to encircle the perimeter. Federal officials have since eased those controls for now, except for the population cap.
Still, longtime participants say the government tightening its grip on the growing event threatens the anarchic principles that underpin the festival.
(19) AREA 51 WARNING. All those of you who never watch Fox News should shut your eyes at this point:
Officials warn public of dangers at secretive Nevada base and signal that the Air Force stands ready; national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin report from the Pentagon.
[Thanks to JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, mlex, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew Johnson.]