By John Hertz: The Rotsler Award for 2020 has been given to Alan White of Las Vegas.
The annual Award, begun in 1998 after the death of Bill Rotsler and in his memory, is for long-time wonder-working with graphic art in amateur publications of the science fiction community. It is decided by a three-judge panel and carries an honorarium of US$300. Rotsler was, among much else, one of the great fanartists.
Alan White has contributed to these publications since the 1970s – mainly the periodicals by and for fans that fans call fanzines (coined by Russell Chauvenet in the 1940s), also fannish conventions’ fliers, program and souvenir books, and other such companions.
When this drawing
was used to decorate Matters Passed On to This Year’s Business Meeting in the 1984 World Science Fiction Convention (“L.A.con II”) Program Book, White was already well known.
appeared earlier in Scientifriction 9 (1977).
As other media became available, he used them. Here is his cover for File 770 138 (2001).
Caricatured at left are (top to bottom) Mike Glyer, Bruce Pelz, Larry Niven.
Here is another drawing of about the same date which appeared some years later – as happens in Fanzineland – in Vanamonde 1403 (weekly; 2020).
Here is an even more elaborate cover for File 770 155 (2009).
Here is a recent image from This Here 35 (2020).
Fanart comes in many forms. Good artists choose what will best suit what they wish to do – line drawings or computer-aided compositions, monochrome or color. White is very good.
The Rotsler Award is sponsored by the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc., a nonprofit California corporation (yes, that’s what the initials spell, in this case pronounced “skiffy”). The current judges are Mike Glyer, John Hertz, and Sue Mason.
Editor’s Note: My ISP took the site down for several hours to do database
maintenance. I was notified earlier today it would happen and put the info in a
comment, however, I doubt many people saw it. We’re back now!
(1) HOW TO SUCCEED AS A PANELIST Delilah S. Dawson’s thread
“So You’re On Your First Panel As A Writer” tells participants how to sharpen their
skills. Thread starts here.
In a lawsuit filed last week in federal court in Chicago, the Justice Department asked for a halt to Quad/Graphics’s planned $1.4 billion purchase of LSC Communications. Lawyers in the department’s antitrust division argued that the merger would decrease competition and drive up prices.
Quad publishes every Condé Nast title, including The New Yorker and Vogue, most publications from Hearst Magazines, including O: The Oprah Magazine, and Scholastic books. LSC Communications publishes two magazines from AARP that claim to have the largest circulations in the world, Penguin Random House books and more.
…In its attempt to block the deal, the Justice Department had two allies from the community of writers: The Authors Guild and PEN America. “The lack of competition among book printers has already caused a bottleneck and increased publishing costs, and a merger between these two companies could exacerbate this situation by creating a monopoly,” the Authors Guild said in a statement in March.
That same month, the Authors Guild and PEN America joined the Open Markets Institute, an antitrust think tank based in Washington, in sending a letter to the Justice Department recommending that the merger be blocked.
It was imperative that the government act, the letter said, because magazines and books “are fundamental to the ability of citizens to freely express and share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and works of art.”
Are Marvel fans a “Shallow” lot? They are lobbying hard for James Gunn to cast Lady Gaga as the voice of Lylla, a sentient otter from the comic books who winds up being the love interest of Rocket Raccoon, who is voiced by Bradley Cooper in the movies. This is after Film Updates posted a tease on Twitter that Gaga was under consideration, and that Lylla was “set to make an appearance” in Gunn’s upcoming ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3’.
(5) DESTROYING THE INTERNET. On reason.com,
Mike Godwin of the R Street Institute, in “What
If Widespread Disinformation Is the Solution to Fake News?” interviews Neal Stephenson about his idea,
expressed in Fall, that the solution to fake news on the Internet is to
hire people to perform “libel service,” flooding the Net with so many
slanderous articles about a subject that no one could believe anything on the
Net about a particular person.
I confess I haven’t yet finished Stephenson’s latest 800-plus-page tome, which so far might be characterized, although not necessarily captured, by the term “near-future dystopia.” But when I came across Stephenson’s depiction of how automated disinformation could actually remedy the damage that internet-based “doxxing” and fake news inflict on an innocent private individual, I paused my reading and jumped down the rabbit hole of tracing this idea to its 1990s roots.
…This whole chapter rang many bells for me, not least because it paralleled a discussion I had with a law professor at a conference last year when I pitched the idea of a “libel service.” Basically, you’d hire a “libel service” to randomly defame you on the internet, so that whenever anyone says something bad about you on Twitter or Facebook, or in the comments area of some newspaper, you could just say “that’s probably my libel service.” No one would know whether the defamatory statements were true or not, and people would be predisposed to doubt anything too terrible that’s said about you.
(6) MARVEL ONE-ACT PLAYS. Samuel French and Marvel Entertainment have launched Marvel Spotlight, a collection of one-act plays “telling the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
Developed specifically for teenagers, these one-act plays star the iconic Super Heroes Ms. Marvel, Thor, and Squirrel Girl. The scripts are now available for purchase as well as licensing within the educational theatre market at MarvelSpotlightPlays.com.
Here’s the abstract for Mirror of Most Value: A Ms. Marvel Play:
Kamala attempts to boost Ms. Marvel’s fledgling super hero profile by writing her own fan fiction. But when building a fandom becomes an obsession, Kamala’s schoolwork and relationships begin to suffer. To become the Jersey City hero of her dreams, Kamala must learn to accept herself just as she is – imperfections and all.
(7) ALL BRADBURY ALL THE TIME. Camestros Felapton points
out the connections between Bradbury’s fiction and the Elton John biopic: “The
Rocket Man versus Rocketman”.
Both the song and story feature a man who pilots an interplanetary rocket as a routine job that takes him away from his family for large stretches of time. However, the song places the perspective with the pilot (the titular rocket man) but the story focuses on the feelings and experiences of the pilot’s son.
Bradbury is such a powerful writer. Even though the sci-fi trappings of the story are of the gee-whiz 1950s style shiny technology, the story itself is focused on emotional connections and that signature Bradbury sense of the past and memory.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
June 25, 1953 — Robot Monster debuted — the one where the guy in the gorilla suit wore a divers helmet with antennae.
June 25, 1965 — Dr. Who And The Daleks was released in London. The film featured Peter Cushing as Dr. Who. Cushing would do one more film, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. a year later. Cushing was the First Doctor, so Roberta Tovey was cast as his granddaughter.
June 25, 1975 — Rollerball premiered
June 25, 1982 — Blade Runner arrived in theaters.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born June 25, 1903 — George Orwell. Surprised to learn he only lived to be forty-seven years old. Author obviously of Animal Farm and 1984, both of which I read a long time ago. Best use of the 1984 image goes to Apple in their ad where a female runner smashes the image of Big Brother. (Died 1950.)
Born June 25, 1925 — June Lockhart, 93. Maureen Robinson on Lost in Space which amazingly only ran for three seasons. She has a number of genre one-offs including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Greatest American Hero and Babylon 5. She appeared in the Lost in Space film as Principal Cartwright.
Born June 25, 1935 — Charles Sheffield. He was the President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and of the American Astronautical Society. He won both the Nebula and Hugo Awards for his novelette “Georgia on My Mind,” and a John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best SF Novel for Brother to Dragons which is an amazing read. Much of his fiction is in his Heritage Universe series; the linked short stories of space traveller Arthur Morton McAndrew are a sheer comic delight. (Died 2002.)
Born June 25, 1956 — Anthony Bourdain. That’s a death that hit me hard. Partly because he’s round my age, partly because, damn, he seemed so interested in everything that I couldn’t conceive him committing suicide. And yes, he was one of us with three works to his credit: Get Jiro!, (with Joe Rose and Langdon Foss), Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi (with Joe Rose and Ale Garza) and Hungry Ghosts (with Joel Rose, Alberto Ponticelli, Irene Koh, Paul Pope). The first two are on DC, the latter‘s on Berger Books. (Died 2018.)
Born June 25, 1960 — Ian McDonald, 59. Now here’s an author that I’ve read a lot of starting with his first novel, Desolation Road, and following through to his most recent, The Luna series. I do have favorites — Desolation Road and the other Mars novel, Ares Express, plus the Everness series are the ones I like the best. Chaga I think is the one I need to read again as I was annoyed by it the first time.
Born June 25, 1981 — Sheridan Smith, 38. She makes the Birthday list for being Lucie Miller, a companion to the Eight Doctor in his Big Finish audio adventures starting in 2006 and running through at least this year. Her only video genre work was being in The Huntsman: Winter’s War as Mrs Bromwyn.
(10) WHAT A KINDNESS. Actor Michael Sheen answered a
request in character as Aziraphale:
Stan Lee’s posthumous creative project A Trick of Light, initially announced as the beginning of a new series for Audible, will be published as a hardcover finished book this fall, EW has learned exclusively. The book will be classified as Lee’s first-ever novel for adult readers, and marks the first foray into his new Alliances universe, which was created in partnership between Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Ryan Silbert’s Origin Story, and Luke Lieberman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is set to publish A Trick of Light, with Kat Rosenfield serving as co-author.
A Trick of Light is a superhero origin story about the unlikely friendship between Cameron, a gifted young man struggling with newfound fame after a freak accident gives him the ability to manipulate technology with his mind, and Nia, a hacker and coding genius with a mysterious past. The two must combine their powers to fight the dangerous physical and online forces threatening to wipe out the human race. Audible’s original launches June 27; it’s narrated by Grown-ish star Yara Shahidi.
The setting was really interesting and philosophically fruitful: a fleet of generation ships dating back to a time before contact with aliens who possess advanced technology that made generation ships useless. Instead of traversing the inky depths of interstellar space, the Fleet orbits a planet. Still, the people continue to live there. Why? It’s complicated. But it prompts the existential question: What are we, the readers, doing on a rock hurtling through space heading nowhere in particular, destined to die? It starts off subtle but it all gets pretty deep (we’re talking meaning-of-life type stuff, some of it – damn it – coming from the angsty teen). This really surprised me considering a lot of the novel feels pretty… light and fluffy. You could totally read this as a light and fluffy space romp and enjoy it just fine, but there are depths if you’re willing to look into the subtleties.
(13) WILLITS TRIBUTE. Alan White’s Skyliner
#7 is a wonderful collection,
even if it is “a sad one, being
dedicated to the late, great Malcolm Willits, Author, Fannish Mogul, Citizen
Kane of Mickey Mouse, and one of the early fen who actually did something
worthy of the fannish pantheon.” It includes long autobiographical pieces, such
as “Gottfredson and Me” about Willits’ appreciation for the artist who
produced Disney’s Mickey Mouse comics.
I have long loved Floyd Gottfredson, even though I did not know his name. But I knew him through his work, through his wonderful Mickey Mouse stories, and especially through his wonderful artwork. I knew it first through the Big Little Books, those miniature jewels that came out during the Depression and reprinted Mickey’s great adventures. I remember them from the ten cent store; whole counters full, all spine out and a dime apiece
A few years later all my Big Little Books disappeared, along with the comic books I had carefully protected from the wartime paper drives, thereby prolonging World War II a microsecond. My father was a YMCA Secretary, and he had given all of them to the children of Japanese-American families being relocated to internment camps. In vain was my protest that the 10¢ war stamp I purchased each week in the 2nd grade was sacrifice enough. Nor was my offer to substitute my school books even considered. I soon found myself in a staging area looking at sad-eyed Japanese-American children being held in wire cages. Dad informed me they were as American as I. It was then I began to suspect his grasp of world affairs. Didn’t he know who Captain America was fighting; had he slept through that Don Winslow serial we had seen a week or two before and neglected to notice who the villains were? But I acted properly contrite and was rewarded with some new comic books on the way home, so the world turned bright again. When my father turned 90, he was honored for his work with the Japanese-Americans during World War II. My contribution remains unheralded.
…Do artists such as Carl Barks and Floyd Gottfredson really need their friends? John W. Campbell, legendary editor of astounding science-fiction once said that if all the fans stop buying his magazine he would never know. He meant the fans that filled the letter columns, attended the conventions, published the fanzines, and badgered the authors. They probably compromise 1% of the readership, and 90% of the headaches. By being so vocal they could manage from orbit the general policies of the magazine that were keeping the rest of the readership contented. Yet where would Barks and Gottfredson be today if it were not for the godsend that two fans, Bruce Hamilton, and Russ Cochran, we’re born to collect and publish the works of these two artists? How difficult it would be to place a historical perspective on them without the pioneering works Tom Andrae, Donald Ault, Bill Blackbeard, Geoffrey Blum, Barbara Botner, Mark Evanier, Alan Dean Foster, Bob Foster, Frank & Dana Gabbard, Gottfreid Helnwein, Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, Leonard Maltin, John Nichols, Tor Odemark, Mark Saarinen, Horst Schroeder, David Smith, Kim Weston, myself, Mark Worden, and many others both here and abroad.
(14) THE HORROR OF IT ALL. Nick Mamatas’ affection for the
Lovecraftian storytelling style is manifest in his review of “Toy Story 4“,
a post made public to encourage readers
to sign up for his Patreon.
…The uncanny and the unworthy populate the film. Woody, ignored by his new owner, feels valueless and thus assigns himself the task of attempting to keep Forky alive. The antagonists are antique store dolls–there a Chatty Cathylike figure whose voice box was damaged at her creation, so her pull-cord “I love you!” sounds like a twisted dream calling forth from the bottom of a tar pit. She commands a quartet of ventriloquist dummies who cannot speak and who do her bidding while flopping around on their twisted limbs. She desires Woody’s innards for her own….
Of course the Germans have a wonderful word for ‘Gothic novel’. Schauerroman. Literally: “shudder-novel”. A story that makes you shiver with fear. Because Gothic is the literature of the menacing and the macabre.
It’s the stuff of nightmares.
But how does such a dark art translate in sunny Australia? How do you cause your readers to shiver when the temperature sits stubbornly above 80 degrees?
Gothic influence has been loitering creepily in Australian literature ever since European settlement. In 1788, when the British began shipping their convicts to Australia, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Ontranto had recently been published in England and so the British transported the Gothic mode along with their very worst criminals.
SIR WILLIAM GULL in From Hell, by Alan Moore (art by Eddie Campbell)
In Moore’s brilliant graphic novel, we’re asked to bend all we know about a serial killer we all know: Jack the Ripper. The details and research embedded in the conspiracy theory that unfolds are haunting, staggering, and so well done. If the infamously gruesome homicidal maniac was one and the same as a highly respected royal physician, then we must consider who we are trusting with our lives, and why.
Nasa has put a miniaturised atomic clock in orbit that it believes can revolutionise deep-space navigation.
About the size of a toaster, the device is said to have 50 times the stability of existing space clocks, such as those flown in GPS satellites.
If the technology proves itself over the next year, Nasa will install the clock in future planetary probes.
The timepiece was one of 24 separate deployments from a Falcon Heavy rocket that launched from Florida on Tuesday.
The other passengers on the flight were largely also demonstrators. They included a small spacecraft to test a new type of “green” rocket fuel, and another platform that aims to propel itself via the pressure of sunlight caught in a large membrane; what’s often called a “lightsail”.
But it is the mercury-ion atomic clock, developed at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which has had most attention.
The UK has managed to get one of its major Antarctic bases operating in an automatic mode for the first time.
Halley base, on the Brunt Ice Shelf, is remotely running experiments that include the monitoring of the ozone layer and of “space weather”.
The station would normally be crewed year-round, even through the permanent darkness of winter.
But staff have had to be withdrawn because of uncertainty over the stability of nearby ice.
A giant berg the size of Greater London is about to break away from the Brunt, and officials from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) consider it prudent to keep people away from the area, at least until the light and warmth of summer returns.
That’s prompted the UK’s polar research agency to develop an innovative set-up that can continue the station’s priority science activities in what is now the third winter shutdown on the trot.
What will remain in 100 years’ time of the city or town where you were born: which landmarks or buildings? What about in 500 years? The controversial author Nassim Nicholas Taleb offers a counter-intuitive rule-of-thumb for answering questions like this. If you want to know how long something non-perishable will endure – that is, something not subject to the limits of a natural lifespan – then the first question you should ask is how long it has already existed. The older it is, the more likely it is to go on surviving.
…The logic of Taleb’s argument is simple. Because the only judge that matters when it comes to the future is time, our only genuinely reliable technique for looking ahead is to ask what has already proved enduring: what has shown fitness and resilience in the face of time itself, surviving its shocks and assaults across decades, centuries or millennia. The Tower of London may seem modest in comparison to the Shard skyscraper – which sits across the Thames at 11 times the height – but it has also proved its staying power across 94 times as many years. The Shard may be iconic and imposing, but its place in history is far from assured. When it comes to time, the older building looms larger.
(21) MUPPET HISTORY. DefunctTV: Jim Henson is a
six-part series chronicling the life and works of the man behind the Muppet
mayhem. Here’s the first of four installments.
[Thanks to Carl Slaughter, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John
King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, Michael Toman, Martin Morse Wooster, Brian Z, and
Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770
contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
By Alan White: Pretty cool about Robby the Robot going for millions.
I wrote about this in Delineator so long ago, and just wanted to add a bit to the story FYI.
The Uncle Simon head.
Following the MGM auction in 1970, I was working for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth at “Movieworld” in Buena Park.
After the dust had settled on the auction, the owners bought scavenging rights for the MGM lot.
I think they paid $10,000 for anything they could haul out of there. This was only a few weeks prior to the whole place being bulldozed for condos and stuff.
The owner, Jimmy Brucker, Ed Roth and I found tons of stuff abandoned in boxcars on the lot.
I don’t recall how they got their hands on Robby, but I could see across the lot on the other side of some tall underbrush, all the wall panels from inside the United Planets Cruiser C57D, plus the large ray guns placements they used when fighting the ID monster.
I set out through all this shoulder high plants, and half-way across, stumbled into Robby’s hot rod hidden amongst all this vegetation. It was a wreck as you can see in the pic. Yes, I’ll have to rescan these pics one of these days.
This is Robby’s control panel
The wall panels and control desk without the big space globe could never be rebuilt. Everything had been left to the elements since, I suppose, 1956.
Thanks to ‘The Kustom Car King” Ed Roth, Robby and the car were rebuilt and put on display at Movieworld.
I printed this card – an insert into my fanzine which I took to a WesterCon in ummm, 1971 or maybe 72.
The car came inches from winding up under a construction site.
So there you see only 3 degrees of separation between Rat Fink and the ID Monster!
Nic Farey, Roy Hessinger, and Jennifer (AlLee) Farey. Photo by Alan White.
Nic Farey married Jennifer AlLee on February 29 in the social event of the season. Of my season, for sure.
Nic invited me to the wedding during a Facebook chat. I was pleased to be asked. And glad of a chance to visit with Vegas fans I rarely see. Nic, however, thinking I needed to be sold on a journalistic reason to go, offered, “You can be the embedded correspondent.” That’s what they call those reporters who follow the military into action, of course, and I doubted that was a good title for somebody attending a wedding. Nic saw my point. He said instead I could be the War Correspondent.
Your War Correspondent stayed at the Green Valley Resort in Henderson, and on Leap Day a little before 6 p.m. I found Nic and his friends finishing a last-minute smoke outside the entry to the hotel wing. Nic led the way to the elevator.
The ceremony was in a beautiful suite upstairs. The middle of the living room had been cleared out, with two rows of sofas, chairs and ottomans against the window overlooking the pool for the guests. I sat beside Rani Bush. De De White, on my right, filled me about what her husband Alan, the official wedding photographer, was shooting. (Small world: I wrote up Alan and De De’s wedding in File 770 when they were the first couple to be married in the newly-opened Excalibur hotel’s wedding chapel.)
Beside us was a baby grand piano. On top was a mountain of gifts wrapped in white with purple ribbon – for everyone had carefully followed the suggestion to buy something in the couple’s Bed, Bath & Beyond registry.
As Nic and best man Ken Vaden looked on, matron of honor Lisa Richardson and the bride, Jen, entered the room.
Roy Hessinger officiated over the ceremony. When Nic and Jen exchanged vows, Nic’s “I DO!” could be heard at the pool six floors below.
They exchanged rings. Jen’s went on smoothly. Nic’s proved to fit better on a pinky than on his ring finger.
Following a Scottish tradition they shared a drink from a large cup.
As they were speaking the very last words of the ceremony there was a knock at the door. The videographers had just arrived….
Alan White took pictures of Nic and Jen holding their certificate. Then the couple had the first dance. The music was carefully chosen and Nic says he whispered some “At Last” lyrics into Jen’s ear as they danced.
The reception followed. Toasts were raised.
The best man offered a short speech: “That was it.”
Jennifer’s son, William Allee, made a slightly longer speech, first praising his mother, then teasing the groom. “And then there’s Nic – he has a very strong personality. ….Can overcome that nobody has any idea what he’s saying. ..Nic, I have nothing but the utmost respect for you…”
Jacq Monahan, De De White, Mike Glyer, Brenda Dupont. Photo by Alan White.
Then the mingling began. I had fun talking with Nic, Brenda Dupont, Teresa Cochran and James Taylor, and Jacq Monahan, past TAFF delegate and Cineholics film reviewer (her review of The Witch went up last week.)
Brenda Dupont, Teresa Cochran, James Taylor, De De White, Mike Glyer. Photo by Alan White.
We also were served scrumptious whipped-cream-topped red velvet cakes in plastic wineglasses.
Eventually I noticed I was one of the last people still there. Others had figured out the honeymoon couldn’t begin til they were gone. And having made a point of being only the War Correspondent, I sounded retreat and followed them out the door…
Update 03/15/20-16: Corrected name of matron of honor.
Many notable fanzine artists have banded together to present exhibits of their finest work at The Zine Artists, where they hope others soon will join them.
Here are high-resolution scans of great cover art unimpaired by cheap paper repro, faneds’ peculiar choices of colored paper, or massive blots of zine title typography. Pristine! At last, no barriers between the artist and the audience.
Already available are dozens and dozens of examples of the funny and beautiful work by —
The first thing you will notice is how terribly incomplete the list of artists is. “Where are Jeanne Gomoll,” you may ask, or “Jack Wiedenbeck, Randy Bathurst, or David Vereschagin?” The answer is that it will take time to track these artists down and contact them.
Taral has also penned a detailed history of the evolution of fanzine art – including his lament about the current state of affairs:
Then, of course, came the digital age, which changed everything. No longer was it necessary to print anything at all to publish a fanzine. Fan editors could manipulate words and images directly on the screen, and distribute them in whatever file format was convenient. It was no longer necessary to limit illustrations in any way. Colour became almost mandatory. Photographs were a breeze. Any image that was already digitized was fair game to import into your document. You could search the entire globe, through the Internet, for the exact image you wanted. In effect, fanartists became redundant.
The golden age of fanzine art represented here never really seems to have been accompanied by a golden age of appreciation for the artists. In every era there have been justifiable complaints that the artists did not receive enough egoboo to “sustain life as we know it.” So take advantage of this chance to leave an appreciative comment in The Zine Artists chat section!
Alan White’s website Smell the Fandom talks a bit about the tactics Wright used in the late 1970s while attempting to dominate sf conrunning in LA. (Drill down to page 27 of Alan’s autobiography “Boomer’s Lament.”) And this PDF is a copy of a flyer Wright sent to his mailing list in 1978 denying stuff he’d done and making accusations against other conrunners that harmed their reputations.
The 50-page issue is loaded with stories about the late Forry Ackerman, and photos too. Taral provides insightful commentary about the styles and history of all 10 previous Rotsler Award winners. John Hertz contributes his definitive Denvention 3 report. James Bacon muses on the things fandom could learn from Britain’s cosplay balls. Steve & Sue Francis highlight the 9689-mile road trip they took en route to last year’s Worldcon. And I have a number of pieces, including my Corflu Zed report and analysis of the Hugo ballot.