(1) HOME IS THE HUNTER. Amazing Stories’ Steve Davidson shared “SMOFCON 35: A Brief Report”:
…I had dinner with the talented and lovely Regina Kanyu Wang, a contributor to these pages, one of the actifans of China’s largest fan group AppleCore and the Executive Editor of Storycom, that has, among other things, worked with Clarkesworld magazine to bring translated Chinese SF to the west.
We talked about the cultural revolution, the reception of science fiction in China, censorship, the possibilities of a Chinese Worldcon, the fact that fans are fans the world over, different strains of “Asian” science fiction (the differences between Japanese SF and Chinese SF: Japanese SF is far more influenced by western tropes than Chinese SD) and I felt like I took a crash course in the subject. I’ve a lot more to learn, as do we all, but my prediction is that in not so many years, China is going to be dominating this market.
I also spent a fair amount of time helping out with the NASFiC bid for Utah in 2019. They joined a wine and other liquors tasting party on Saturday evening (I don’t imbibe, but I sure as heck can carry cookies and danish to the room). As a result of my generosity, I have been allowed to purchase a supporting membership (Grabthar’s Hammer level) and have been volunteered to run the bid table at the 2018 Boskone in February. (An actifan’s reward is more work!)…
(2) NATIONAL NETWORK PICKS UP EL-MOHTAR STORY. Amal El-Mohtar’s horrible experience with TSA made the Montreal news this morning: Canada’s CBC has picked up the story — “Ottawa author detained by U.S. border guards says system ‘broken'”
El-Mohtar, born and raised in Ottawa, has been crossing the border into the U.S. three to four times a year for at least the last five years because that’s where many of her fans are.
With an Arabic-sounding name, she said she expects to be racially profiled, endure intense questioning and pat downs.
“Every time, I’d get the allegedly random extra screening. Every time. To the point where I’d always make jokes about, if only the lottery were this kind of random.”
This time, however, she was sent for secondary screening, which she said was particularly degrading.…
I am taking a survey on sexual harassment in childrens publishing. No names involved. Please share widely. And if you've been harassed, I would be grateful if you would fill out the form. https://t.co/i4N7F5zcDy
— Anne Ursu (@anneursu) December 4, 2017
(4) BENEFIT FOR REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS. Children of a Different Sky, edited by Alma Alexander, is now available online (including at Amazon). Alexander told Carl Slaughter about the project in a File 770 interview.
It is a themed fantasy anthology, about migrants and refugees, and it is a charity anthology, with all the profits from the sales of the book above anything required for housekeeping and production are going straight to two selected charities working with refugees and migrants both in the USA and globally.
The contributors are Jane Yolen, Aliette de Bodard, Seanan McGuire, Irene Radford, Gregory L. Norris, Brenda Cooper, Joyce Reynolds-Ward, Randee Dawn, Jacey Bedford, Nora Saroyan, Marie Brennan, and Patricia McEwen
(5) CAN REBELS AND THE FEDERATION STOP THE EMPIRE? Trek Wars is the Star Wars/Star Trek Crossover Fan-Trailer.
The Death Star is on a direct course for Earth, the crew of the starship Enterprise teams up with the Rebel Alliance to stop it!
(6) NEXT UP AT KGB READING SERIES. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present N.K. Jemisin and Christopher Brown on Wednesday, December 20, 7p.m. at the KGB Bar.
N(ora). K. Jemisin is the author of the Broken Earth Trilogy, the Inheritance Trilogy, and the Dreamblood Duology. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula and World Fantasy Award; shortlisted for the Crawford, the Gemmell Morningstar, and the Tiptree; and she won a Locus Award for Best First Novel. In 2016, she became the first black person to win the Best Novel Hugo for The Fifth Season; she won again in 2017 for The Obelisk Gate.
Her short fiction has been published in Clarkesworld, Tor.com, WIRED, and Popular Science. She writes a New York Times book review column, Otherworldly, covering recent Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Christopher Brown is the author of Tropic of Kansas, a novel published in 2017 by Harper Voyager that was recently nominated for the Compton Crook Award. He was a World Fantasy Award nominee for the anthology he co-edited, Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic. His next two novels, the beginning of a series of speculative legal thrillers set in the world of Tropic of Kansas, are slated for publication by Harper in summer 2019 and 2020. His short fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. He lives in Austin, where he also practices technology law.
The KGB Bar is located at 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs), New York, NY.
(7) OPERATIC VERSION OF OCTAVIA BUTLER WORK KICKSTARTER. Toshi Reagon has started a Kickstarter appeal to fund “Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Opera”.
This opera, which I composed in collaboration with my mother, Dr Bernice Johnson Reagon lives in an unprecedented intersection of science fiction, opera, African-American art & spirituality, feminism, and climate activism.
It features a cast of 15 amazing singers of singular talent and diversity, and a 5 member orchestra which includes my band BigLovely, and a striking set design and visual installation, and a dream team of designers and creatives.
We are asking that you join us, and support us as we finish the creation of this ambitious project and bringing it to communities around the country and the world. It’s urgent, we have to do this now.
They have received $10,205 of the $30,000 goal as of this writing, with 23 days remaining in the drive.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY GIRL
- Born December 4, 1964 — Marisa Tomei. She got her screen debut in an uncredited role (as “Health Club Girl”) in The Toxic Avenger (1984) — arguably one of the most gruesome creatures known to man.
(9) COMICS SECTION.
- John King Tarpinian learned from the December 2 Bliss that while there are things man was not meant to know, that doesn’t mean nobody knows them.
(10) MARTHA WELLS. The holiday season continues at The Book Smugglers with “Books of My Year – A Smugglivus post by Martha Wells”.
For Smugglivus, I thought I’d do a list of recommendations for some of the favorite books I’ve read this year, or am reading this year, or am about to read this year.
First on the list —
Substrate Phantoms by Jessica Reisman
An SF novel about love, loss, and contact with a truly alien intelligence too strange for humans to understand. If you love thoughtful far future SF with brilliant worldbuilding, this is for you.
(11) FROM TOLKIEN’S PANTRY. Lembas is “A bite of energy” – its origin and use is discussed at Middle-earth Reflections:
Different in strengthening properties and generally more pleasant than its brother cram, made by Men to keep them going in the wild, lembas was a special kind of waybread baked by the Elves alone. The name lembas is a Sindarin one: it is derived from an older version lenn-mbass meaning “journey-bread”. As the name implies, one could and needed to eat it on long journeys when there was no other food to support a traveller or if one’s life was in peril after receiving a hurt. With lembas being a very special — and essentially Elvish — kind of food, Galadriel and the Elves showed the Fellowship a great honour by giving it to them.
(12) THE WRITING DAY. RedWombat takes a break.
BARISTA (ringing up order): You gonna want a refill?
ME: Oh god yes. I have to get through these edits. Orrrr I could just set myself on fire…
BARISTA: And run through the street!
BARISTA: Aw yeah.
— The Wombat Resists (@UrsulaV) December 4, 2017
(13) A MANLY ANTHOLOGY. Superversive SF’s “Submission call for ‘To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity’” is open ‘til February 14, 2018.
- Stories showing the masculine virtues in a positive light.
- Stories that introduce or reintroduce young men to the manly virtues.
- Stories that pay homage to men and masculinity.
I love that the post’s last line is –
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re not sure.
(14) LOOK OUT BELOW. MeTV is ready to tell you — “Here’s what’s on the ground in ‘The Jetsons'”.
It goes like this: While The Flintstones seemingly takes place in the Stone Age, and The Jetsons is set in 2062, the two worlds co-exist. The Flintstones is the post-apocalyptic life on the surface under The Jetsons. Barney and Wilma live on the ground underneath George and Jane.
It’s a fun theory to debate at parties, but there is one big problem. We see what is on the surface in The Jetsons.
One of the most common misconceptions about The Jetsons is that the cartoon never shows the ground beneath Orbit City. The Jetson family lives in the Skypad Apartments. George works at Spacely Space Sprockets. Both cylindrical buildings project into the sky like birdhouses on long poles. It is a world of flying cars.
This optimistic vision of the 21st century often left viewers wondering — what is on the ground? Well, the answer is… hobos, walking birds, concrete and parks….
(15) ALT-CAT. Every day is a tough one when you’re battling fake news.
File770 falsely attributes my amazing book to that fool Camestros. This is how great authors like me who are not afraid to speak out against the elites are persecuted.
— Timothy The Talking Cat (@TalkingTimothy) December 4, 2017
(16) DEL ARROZ ON CEBULSKI. Jon Del Arroz, now writing for The Federalist (called by a Bloomberg Politics writer “a source of original interviews and real-time arguments between conservatives and libertarians”) says “The Manufactured Outrage At Marvel’s New Editor In Chief Is Just A Power Play”. He calls the Cebulski story a “phony controversy” —
When Cebulski was named, it had a lot of comic readers scouring the Internet to find out who he was, and if he looked like he’d be able to right Marvel Comics’ sinking ship.
Most comic professionals praised the move. Longtime Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis said, “Creators, you’re about to be treated and fed SO [sic] well. This is a great day for comics. All in it together!” Christos Gage, writer of Netflix’s “Daredevil” season one, said, “Excellent choice in [Cebulski] as new Marvel EIC. He loves comics and comic book creators.” Even Marvel’s most vocal of critics seemed pleased with the move.
It didn’t take long for the gossip entertainment news to attack Cebulski, however. This week, Cebulski is the victim of manufactured identity politics outrage, in an attempt by the media to get him fired before his work as editor in chief even begins. Bleeding Cool, IO9, and the Huffington Post, outlets notorious for hyper-partisan clickbait, attacked Cebulski over the fact that 13 years ago he used a pseudonym to write a few books for Marvel. If it sounds like something not even worth mentioning, you’d be right, but it has the leftist outrage machine calling for Marvel to remove him.
Then with his usual rhetorical prestidigitization, Del Arroz equates Cebulski’s writing under an Asian pseudonym with D.C. Fontana going by her initials, and makes other leaps of illogic, such as —
If the media is right that Cebulski had to use a minority moniker to get a job, it means white men aren’t considered for the work, or at the very least, minorities are preferred. Therefore, pro-white racism in entertainment doesn’t and didn’t exist as far back as 15 years ago.
(17) HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS? Ethan Alter, in a Yahoo! Entertainment piece called “How all those ‘Star Wars’ cameos wound up in surprise box-office hit ‘Wonder'”, interviews Wonder director Stephen Chblosky about why his film packed with Star Wars Easter eggs,
Star Wars plays a small but significant role in Wonder; not only is it the singular obsession of the film’s main character, Auggie Pullman (played by Jacob Tremblay — a noted Padawan in his own right), but Chbosky also wrangled surprise cameo appearances by two residents of George Lucas‘s far, far away galaxy: a certain Wookiee co-pilot and a sinister Sith-turned-emperor, who appear in fantasy sequences imagined by Auggie, who initially prefers the company of fictional characters because real people struggle to adjust to his facial deformities caused by a rare medical condition. “I will point out, very proudly, that on Dec. 15 there will be two Chewbacca movies in theaters — that has never happened!” Chbosky says, laughing. “I really hope that being part of Wonder might help the box office of The Last Jedi. They’re really struggling over there.”
(18) FINAL PRANK. Carrie Fisher pulled a fast one on Mark Hamill.
Hamill, 66, spoke about his fond memories of his dear friend on a recent visit to the set of “Popcorn With Peter Travers.” He also recalled the last prank she pulled on him before she died on Dec. 27, 2016.
“We were sort of in an unofficial contest to get to 1 million Twitter followers first,” he explained of their competition from summer 2016. “She was 63,000 ahead of me … I said, ‘Game on girl!'”
As of now, Hamill has more than 2 million followers and Fisher posthumously has 1.19 million. Hamill, who was trailing in the beginning, said he started pulling these ridiculous stunts like offering up exclusive “Star Wars” clips to gain followers and catch up to Fisher.
“I felt bad, I was really gaining,” he said, so he also came up with a plan where the two could cross the milestone together, as on-screen brother and sister. “I sent her an email and I said, ‘Hey Carrie want to explode the internet?’ … We had never seen our wax figures at Madame Tussauds.”
The plan was to go, take pictures with the wax Luke and Leia figurines, then post on the internet to fans’ delights. But Fisher never emailed him back.
“Three of four days later, there she is at Madame Tussauds posing with my figure, posing with her figure, I went, ‘What!?’ I was livid,” he said. “I went to the studio the next day [and went right to her trailer]. I said, ‘Carrie, what did you do!? It was like … you threw the party and you didn’t invite me!'”
According to Hamill, she just looked up at him and said, “Should have I not done that?”
Before & after pic.twitter.com/yOibe0n1N9
— Carrie Fisher (@carrieffisher) June 1, 2016
(19) LUNAR GLIMPSE. The only supermoon of 2017 rose on Sunday, December 3. Here are three galleries with some of the best photos.
- “Supermoon 2017! Amazing Full Cold Moon Photos by Stargazers” at Space.com
- “December’s Supermoon from around the globe, in pictures” from the Telegraph.
- “Supermoon 2017: Best pictures as the bright moon dazzles the world” in the Independent
(20) INTERVIEW WITH THE CAPTAIN. The Hollywood Masters features Patrick Stewart on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
[Thanks to DMS, Cathy Palmer-Lister, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]