(1) GET ERIDANI TO THE PRESS. Alex Shvartsman has launched a Kickstarter appeal to fund publication of “Eridani’s Crown”.
When Eridani’s parents are murdered and their kingdom is seized by a traitorous duke, she plans to run. After she suffers yet another unendurable loss, the lure of revenge pulls her back.
Eridani’s brilliance as a strategist offers her a path to vengeance and the throne, but success may mean becoming everything she hates. To survive, she must sway religious zealots, outwit ambitious politicians, and confront bloodthirsty warlords, all with few allies and fewer resources. Yet the most menacing obstacle she must overcome is the prophecy uttered by a powerful sorceress:
Everyone you know and trust will come to betray you.
In the opening hours his supporters have already given $1,009 of the $5,000 goal. The Kickstarter continues until July 11. He invites readers to preview the book —
Download and read an unedited copy of one of my favorite chapters. This is an early chapter, so it’s mostly spoiler-free. Mostly. (Note: The text has been laid out by me. The actual book will be laid out by a pro and therefore will look a lot nicer.)
Read “Forty-Seven Dictums of Warfare” at Daily Science Fiction. This was published as a standalone short story and is expanded within the novel. Spoilers for Teo, a minor but relevant character, as well as some other minor spoilers.
(2) TUNING UP FOR THE MOON “NASA’s return to the moon preparations include building ultimate music playlist — and your help is wanted” – the Virginian-Pilot has the story.
As NASA prepares for a trip back to the moon in 2024, it’s asking for the public’s help building the perfect playlist of songs for its astronauts.
With the trip to the moon expected to take three days each way, the astronauts could potentially need a fairly robust list. You can hear some of the early choices at thirdrockradio.net.
NASA will accept nominations through June 28, but has a couple rules. First, no songs with “explicit titles, lyrics and themes.” Also, the songs must exist on an official streaming service (meaning sites like YouTube or SoundCloud won’t cut it).
(3) THE INSIDE STORY. A book edition of Nnedi Okorafor’s LaGuardia comics is available for pre-order from Dark Horse.
In an alternate world where aliens have integrated with society, pregnant Nigerian- American doctor Future Nwafor Chukwuebuka, has just smuggled an illegal alien plant named Letme Live through LaGuardia International and Interstellar Airport . . . and that’s not the only thing she’s hiding.
She and Letme become part of a community of human and alien immigrants; but as their crusade for equality continues and the birth of her child nears, Future–and her entire world–begins to change.
Written by Nnedi Okorafor, Hugo and Nebula award- winning author and the writer of Marvel’s Shuri.
Numerous sample pages are part of this Publishers Weekly article.
(4) SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW. Behind a semi-permeable paywall, Vanity Fair tells “Everything George R.R. Martin Is Doing Instead of Finishing A Song of Ice and Fire“. Here’s the latest addition to the list —
… As confirmed Sunday in Microsoft’s keynote at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3), Martin is currently collaborating with FromSoftware on Elden Ring, his first non-Game of Thrones video game, according to the Verge. FromSoftware has made several acclaimed video games, including Dark Souls, and as a fantasy game Elden Ring is well within Martin’s wheelhouse. But as exciting as the prospect might be for fantasy-game lovers, this will probably mean that Martin’s non-video-game-loving fans will have to wait even longer for the thing they really crave….
(Notwithstanding this Scroll item, File 770’s official position is that George R.R. Martin doesn’t need anyone’s approval to use his time and creative energy however he likes. As are we all,)
(5) APPOINTMENT WITH DESTINY. And it appears from this NJ.com article that Martin’s schedule now includes attending this ceremony in October: “New Jersey Hall of Fame to induct George R.R. Martin, Martha Stewart, Laurie Hernandez (but not Anthony Bourdain)”.
On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the honorees for the class of 2018 at Newark Liberty Airport. The group of 19 inductees includes five women and 17 men (one band is in the mix). They will be honored at a ceremony in Asbury Park this October.
Martin, 70, grew up in Bayonne, and Stewart, 77, grew up in Nutley….
(6) MEDICAL UPDATE. Jim C. Hines shares info about his wife’s health setback in “Another Personal Update and Changing Plans”. The hope is —
If all goes well, the doctors are talking about maybe using CAR T-cell therapy after chemo. Ideally, we’re hoping this would be the new “finishing move” against the cancer.
(7) IN THE AUDIENCE. Z has generously posted a set of panel notes from Continiuum 15, the Australian National Convention.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born June 11, 1927 — Kit Pedler. In the mid-1960s, Pedler who was a scientist became the unofficial scientific adviser to the Doctor Who production team. He would help create the Cybermen. In turn, he wrote three scripts for the series: “The Tenth Planet” (with Gerry Davis), “The Moonbase” and “The Tomb of the Cybermen” (also with Gerry Davis). Pedler and Davis also created and co-wrote Doomwatch which ran for three seasons on the Beeb. (Died 1981.)
- Born June 11, 1929 — Charles Beaumont. He is remembered as a writer of Twilight Zone episodes such as “Miniature”, “Person or Persons Unknown”, “Printer’s Devil” and “The Howling Man” but also wrote the screenplays for several films among them 7 Faces of Dr. Lao and The Masque of the Red Death. He also wrote a lot of short stories, so let’s see if there’s digital collections available. Yes, I’m pleased to say including several ones by legit publishers. Yea! (Died 1967.)
- Born June 11, 1933 — Gene Wilder. The first role I saw him play was The Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles. Of course, he has more genre roles than that starting out with Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory followed by Blazing Saddles and then Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein. He was Sigerson Holmes in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother, a brilliantly weird film who cast included Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Dom DeLuise, Roy Kinnear and Leo McKern! I’ve also got him playing Lord Ravensbane/The Scarecrow in The Scarecrow, a 1972 TV film based based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Feathertop”. (Died 2016.)
- Born June 11, 1945 — Adrienne Barbeau, 74. She was in Swamp Thing, also in the Carnivale series, a very weird affair. She provided the voice of Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series. And she was in both Creepshow and The Fog. Oh, and ISFDB lists her as writing two novels, Vampyres of Hollywood (with Michael Scott) and presumably another vampire novel, Love Bites.
- Born June 11, 1959 — Hugh Laurie, 60. Best known as House to most folks, his most recent genre role was as Mycroft Holmes in the Holmes and Watson film. He’s has past genre roles in The Borrowers, the Stuart Little franchise, Tomorrowland, Blackadder: Back & Forth and Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).
- Born June 11, 1968 — Justina Robson, 51. Author of the excellent Quantum Gravity series. I’ve not started her Natural History series, so would be interested in hearing from anyone here who has.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- Mother Goose and Grimm has a Marvel-ous joke.
(10) LOL VS. LAW. [Item by ULTRAGOTHA.]So, an Attorney named T. Greg Doucette in North Carolina stumbled across the #StandWithVic hashtag and Vic Mignogna’s lawsuit (or, as he calls it, the LOLsuit) and started commenting on how badly it was written and, more generally, why it would probably fail. The resulting thread (into its sixth day!) is both hilarious and an education in defamation, actual malice (a term of art) tortious interference, and really bad lawyering. Behold! The thread starts here.
(11) HALLOWEEN RECLAIMED. Your Worldcon visit may not stretch quite this long, but Lonely Planet wants you to know that “A new festival will celebrate Ireland as the birthplace of Halloween”.
The Púca festival will take place this year in Ireland’s Ancient East from 31 October to 2 November. It will make Ireland the place to be this Halloween, and it is expected that visitors from around the world will come and celebrate the country’s ancient traditions. According to Irish folklore and more recent archaeological evidence, Halloween can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of Samhain. Samhain means ‘summer’s end’ in old Irish, and it marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the new one.
(12) FAN MAIL. In “Hugo 2019 – Looking at Fan Writers Part 1”, Camestros Felapton considers what the nominees have on offer in the Hugo Voter Packet.
… And having read through the packet entries, I am no closer to voting beyond “I read this person regularly” versus “I don’t read this person much”. All worthy entries but I worry that the packet process gives a distorted view of fan writing as mainly reviews with some critical essays. I don’t want that to be read as disparaging reviews as part of fan writing, they are always going to be a key part of it.
(13) MEXICANX. John Picacio has started a read-along of the #MexicanXInitiative Scrapbook, which is nominated for a Hugo Award. Most of the tweets are not threaded, but the first entry is below, and the next five are: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5).
Coincidentally, this is the 40th mention of the MexicanXInitiative in posts at File 770.
(14) HUGO CONTENDERS. Doris V. Sutherland provides substantial food for thought in “2019 Hugo Award Reviews: Short Stories” at Women Write About Comics.
Between them, these six stories take us on a trip through fairy tale lands with strange new inhabitants, past an alternate version of the United States’ founding, into a contemporary library staffed by witches, and finally towards a future of dangerous new technology. Some of these lands may be outwardly familiar; but this time, we are seeing them from unusual perspectives, our storytellers ranging from African-American slaves to sororal velociraptors. The overarching theme is undeniable — but the six writers represented here have given that theme a strong set of variations.
(15) THE BAG OF SHAME. The New York Times reports “Canadian retailers shaming plastic bag users”.
Some retailers in Canada have become creative to try and discourage consumers from using plastic bags, including by shaming them.
Shoppers at East West Market in central Vancouver who decide to pay for a plastic bag are given a bag with an embarrassing logo emblazoned on it like “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium,” “Dr. Toews Wart Ointment Wholesale” or “The Colon Care Co-Op.”
(16) STICKING WITH IT. Gastro Obscura shows many examples of “The Surprising, Overlooked Artistry of Fruit Stickers”.
Some of the world’s best, most surprising graphic design can be found in one of the most mundane places: your local supermarket. …When most people encounter these stickers, it’s only to peel them off and try, often unsuccessfully, to flick them into the trash. But Kelly Angood sees something else in them, and peels them carefully off before adding them to her collection of hundreds—spanning countries, decades, and a dizzying variety of fruit.
(17) HIDEOUS PROFITS. The stickers might be the most beautiful part of these fruits and veggies, and yet there’s money to be made selling them: “’Ugly’ Produce Subscription Service Misfits Market Raises $16.5M”.
Today Misfits Market, the New York-based company that sells subscription boxes of irregularly-shaped produce, announced that it had raised a $16.5 million Series A funding round (h/t Techcrunch). Greenoaks Capital led the round.
…So-called “ugly” produce is having a moment. In addition to Misfits Market, companies like Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest also sell cosmetically imperfect and surplus produce through subscription boxes at a reduced cost, while Full Harvest serves the B2B side.
(18) STARING INTO THE MIRROR. Abigail Nussbaum takes on the “Black Mirror, ‘Striking Vipers’” episode at Asking the Wrong Questions.
It feels strange to talk about Black Mirror reinventing itself. Even if you leave aside the fact that this is a show in its fifth season (plus two specials), a point where habits tend to be firmly fixed, what would be the impetus for it? From its scandalous premiere in 2011, Black Mirror has always been lauded for being exactly what it is. Even the people who have criticized it—for its cynicism, for its nastiness, for its reflexive distrust of technology—have helped to cement its brand, our idea of what a Black Mirror story is like and can accomplish. And yet, when you finish watching the three episodes of the just-released fifth season, there is no other way to describe them than as a departure. It’s probably the strongest season the show has fielded since its first, but it’s also the least Black Mirror-ish.
(19) SARTORIAL SPLENDOR. Sometimes it’s hard to make the perfect Hugo night fashion statement, then again, Scott Edelman shows that sometimes it’s s snap:
(20) RO, RO, RO YOUR ROBOAT. The Boston Globe shows how “In the future, Amsterdam’s canals might have robot boats”.
In the Amsterdam of the future, you might step out of the Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House, or one of the city’s hazy “coffee shops” and hop onto a robot boat to take you to your next destination. Outside the place you’re staying, in the early morning hours, you might hear other robot boats carrying away the trash.
That’s the vision of researchers at MIT, who teamed up several years ago with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.
They hope that one day, “roboats” will busily ply the city’s 165 canals, carrying people, goods, trash, and from time to time forming themselves into floating stages or bridges.
In a paper presented recently at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation, the researchers said they had taken another step in their ongoing project: developing the capability for the roboats to identify and connect to docking stations and other boats.
“The aim is to use roboat units to bring new capabilities to life on the water. . . . The new latching mechanism is very important for creating pop-up structures,” Daniela Rus, director of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said in a statement from MIT.
(21) HEAVY METAL. Phys.org says this will be an especially hard piece of cheese: “Mass anomaly detected under the moon’s largest crater”.
A mysterious large mass of material has been discovered beneath the largest crater in our solar system—the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin—and may contain metal from the asteroid that crashed into the Moon and formed the crater, according to a Baylor University study.
“Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger than the Big Island of Hawaii and burying it underground. That’s roughly how much unexpected mass we detected,” said lead author Peter B. James,
(22) THOUGHTS ABOUT A COLLECTORS EDITION. [Item by Carl Slaughter.] As I was getting settled in to my new apartment, I saw a Star Trek collectors edition special magazine. I thought, “Star Trek in a small town in a farm state. Evidence that Star Trek is widespread and endures.” I was too busy buying furniture and household items to examine it. I went back to the supermarket where I thought I remembered seeing it. Then the other supermarket. Didn’t even find any magazines, so I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. Then I found it in the Dollar General store. But Dollar General is a national chain. But whether that magazine means Star Trek is in a small town or means Star Trek is national, that magazine tells us something about Star Trek. And it’s the original series characters on cover, not JJ Abrams ones or the Discovery ones. As for the magazine itself, it contains nothing new to Trekkies. And it was $15 – ouch.
(23) WINGING IT. Here’s the trailer for Carnival Row, the Cara Delevingne, Orlando Bloom fantasy series destined for Amazon.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Carl Slaughter, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, ULTRAGOTHA, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]