(1) BIOPSY REPORT. Some good Kathryn Cramer health news. She posted to her Facebook page, after her Monday brain surgery.
“Tumor biopsied: it is benign.”
(2) MARYLAND WINNER. Andy Duncan is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council 2016 Individual Artist Award in the fiction-writing category.
These awards recognize the exceptional artistic achievements of talented artists from across the state.
This year’s IAA awards, totaling $218,000, go to 96 artists working within the disciplines of Creative Non-Fiction/Fiction, Media/Digital/Electronic Arts, Theater Solo Performance, Painting, and Works on Paper.
Selected from more than 585 applicants, the 2016 awardees receive grants for $1,000, $3,000 or $6,000 to honor their achievement and to support further advancement of their career.
Recipient artists’ names are available here.
(3) AUTHORS WHO ARE NOT GETTING PAID. Anna Grace Carpenter writes about — “Galaktika Magazine: Theft on a Massive Scale”.
On March 23, 2016, Bence Pintér published an article at Mandiner Magazine regarding numerous stories published by Galaktika Magazine in 2015 – most of them translated and reprinted without the knowledge or consent of the original authors…..
I first became aware of the unfolding story when an author acquaintance on Twitter began urging other authors to check and see if their work had also been stolen and pointed them to the thread at the Absolute Write Water Cooler which in turn linked to a FaceBook post by Sean Wallace (shared by Ellen Datlow) which contained the link to Bence Pintér’s article at Mandiner. There was also a link to the Galaktika website, which I followed and began looking through the bibliography. (Possibly the only word I am able to recognize in Hungarian.)
As I looked through the TOC for monthly magazines, I immediately began to recognize names and I reached out to a couple that I followed on Twitter.
Aliette DeBodard was the first to respond. I asked her about the translation and publication of her short story “Shipbirth” (Asimov’s Feb 2011) that had appeared in the June 2012 issue of Galaktika. She confirmed that it had been published without her consent and she had contacted them when she became aware. That inquiry was apparently ignored – the editor made no attempt to offer compensation for having printed her story, and, from what she can see reviewing the email at the time, did not bother to respond at all….
No one wants to see a magazine disappear, especially in a country with only a couple Hungarian language SF/F markets, but if that publisher is depending on either stealing or otherwise acquiring work for free, I think they are doing more damage than good. Especially now that it’s become apparent that this is not an occasional problem, but habitual theft of intellectual property.
I asked Mr. Pintér if the publisher had responded to the allegations of theft and he said they had declined to comment on the matter during a separate interview. “After that they sent an email, which is in the article. The boss said that “the area of copyrights is a complicated stuff”. Since then no word from them.”
(4) OCCASIONALLY FREE IS OK. Jim C. Hines is not keen on “Working For Exposure”. Ordinarily.
There are exceptions, of course. I’ve written free content for projects I believe in, for friends and people I like, and for the pure fun of it. But if all you’re offering is exposure, I get plenty of that here on the blog. And to be blunt, my time is valuable, and I only have a limited amount. Writing for you takes time that could otherwise go to other projects, or to hanging out with my family, or even to raking up the leaves and sticks in the back yard.
I’m pretty comfortable at this point with the idea that as a writer, I deserve to be paid. (Though I still struggle with interviews sometimes, depending on where the interview is supposed to appear and how much time will be involved.)
But what about non-writing stuff? I’m sometimes asked to speak at schools, or to present at libraries, or do talk about writing at a workshop. What about a half-hour Skype chat with a book club? Or speaking at the local NaNoWriMo kickoff event? …
(5) SIGNAL INTERVIEW. At SF Signal, Carl Slaughter interviews “Professor Tom Greene on Racism, Hard Science, Vampire Literature, and Hard Lessons about Writing”.
But of course none of my students ever believe me, and I was just the same. I spent more than 20 years writing unpublishable stories while vigorously not listening to people who tried to tell me what was wrong.
So around 2006 I finally accepted that it was a problem with my writing and not the publishing industry, which made it possible for me to begin trying to figure out what the problem was. This is where Critters.org was a big help. The revelation (that I’ve mentioned in other places) happened one day when I was critiquing another writer’s story. It wasn’t a bad story. The writing was competent and the central idea was interesting. But I didn’t really care about the character, and the character seemed to be doing things that didn’t make much difference, and I probably wouldn’t have read the story at all if I didn’t have to critique it.
Which, I realized, was exactly like all of my own stories.
So once that happened, I started working systematically on the problem of how to make a story more engaging. Within a couple of years, my stories started getting published.
(6) NINE’S TO BLAME. No wonder it’s been hiding! According to the Independent — “Planet Nine: Mysterious planet is to blame for mass extinctions of life on Earth, scientists claims”.
The mystery of the extinction events that happen every 27 million or so years is an equally long-investigated and mysterious problem. Nobody is really clear why the comets tend to arrive on such an apparently regular schedule — but potential other explanations include a companion star to our own sun or extra risk as we travel through the spiral arms of the Milky Way.
But the new theory suggests that if the idea of the periodic extinctions is true, then it may be that the particular orbit of Planet 9 is to blame. It proposes that as the planet moves around the solar system, it passes through the Kuiper Belt — an area of the outer solar system full of icy objects — every 27 million years, knocking comets towards us and into the inner solar system.
Once they arrive there, they can smash into the Earth and reduce the sunlight getting to us, potentially leading to the extinction events, the researchers claim.
(7) DEALING WITH HB2. North Carolina convention IllogiCon has posted this statement on Facebook.
Given the advent of that atrocious affront to humankind that is HB2, we wanted to make sure all our members would be safe and comfortable in our usual hotel. We reached out to them, and got this lovely response:
“Our bathrooms will be running as normal as years past. You will not expect anything different from the staff at the Embassy Suites regarding bathrooms. If any of your guests feel uncomfortable using our public restrooms they are welcome to use the bathrooms near the pool area. They serve as family style restrooms, have only one stall, and are lockable from the inside. I hope this helps because we love having you with us.”
Pee as thou wilt, people.
*To clarify for those who have never been to illogiCon before, “running as normal” means the hotel does not monitor bathroom use nor does it enforce use of one bathroom over another.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- Born March 30, 1945 – Eric Clapton. This birthday boy has had his music in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Men in Black.
(9) ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS. Another trailer from Official Disney.
(10) PRINT IS HERE TO STAY. From his vantage in 1961, The Traveler explains to readers of Galactic Journey why visual media won’t be driving printed sf/f to extinction.
All this hubbub is silly. There are two reasons why printed sf/f isn’t going anywhere, at least for the next few decades. The first is that the quality isn’t in the films or television shows. Sure, there are some stand-outs, like the first season of The Twilight Zone, and the occasional movie that gets it right, but for the most part, it’s monsters in rubber suits and the worst “science” ever concocted.
But the second reason, and this is the rub, is the sheer impermanence of the visual media. If you miss a movie during its run, chances are you’ve missed out forever. Ditto, television. For instance, I recently learned that an episode of Angel (think I Love Lucy, but with a French accent) starred ex-Maverick, James Garner. I’m out of luck if I ever want to see it unless it happens to make the summer re-runs.
(11) EASTERCON FAN FUND ACTION. Jim Mowatt announced —
Fan funds auction at Eastercon raised 866 pounds to be split equally between Taff and Guff. Many thanks everyone helping at the auction; Kylie Ding, Carrie Mowatt, Fishlifter Claire, James Shields, Douglas Spencer, Fionna o Sullivan, Mary Burns, Anna Raftery. Also all the people who donated things and bought things. The fan funds continue to exist because of you folks.
(12) FUTURE PUPPIES. Brandon Kempner begins to collate his numbers in “Estimating the 2016 Hugo Nominations, Part 3”.
Does this estimate tell us anything, or is it just useless fantasizing? I can see people arguing either way. What this does is narrow the range down to something somewhat sensible. We’re not predicting Ann Leckie is going to get 2000 votes for Best Novel. We’re not predicting she’s going to get 100. I could predict 450-800 and then match that against the 220-440 Rabid Puppies prediction. That would tell me Leckie seems like a likely nominee.
We can go destroy this prediction if we make different assumptions. I could assume that the new voters to the Hugos won’t vote in anything like typical patterns, i.e. that they are complete unknowns. Maybe they’ll vote Leckie at a 75% rate. Maybe they’ll vote her 0%. Those extremes grate against my thought patterns. If you know Chaos Horizon, I tend to chose something in the middle based on last year’s data. That’s a predictive choice I make; you might want to make other ones.
(13) RABID POPPINS. Vox Day is a bit touchy about Chaos Horizon’s estimates that Rabid Puppy performance may not be statistically perfect in every way — “Rabid Puppies 2016: updates and estimates”.
I, personally, consider this to be an inadvertent affront. I would be surprised if only 80 percent of the Rabid Puppies could be bothered to show up and nominate….
What Chaos Horizon means by “slate decay” is a simple failure of discipline. Last year, for example, far more Puppies submitted nominations in Best Novel than in other, less important categories or went lone ranger on occasion. And while I can’t see what slate decay could possibly have to do with what is merely a list of recommendations, and by no means a direct order to anyone, least of all the Rabid Puppies, the Sad Puppies, the Ilk, the Dread Ilk, the Vile Faceless Minions, or the Evil Legion of Evil, by their Supreme Dark Lord, I do think one would be remiss were one to fail to fill out the entire nominating ballot.
(14) HOLD ONTO YOUR WALLETS. Twentieth Century Fox announced Alien Day, a global celebration of the Alien franchise on April 26. IGN reports —
The date 4/26 is of course a nod to LV-426, the planet from the Alien films. The day will have nationwide screenings of the movies, the release of never-before-seen products, and the start of the Alien: Ultimate Trivia Challenge, which will allow fans to win prizes every 42.6 minutes on Twitter.
Reebok is releasing the Alien Stomper worn by Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, and the mid tops worn by Lance Henriksen as the Android Bishop.
There will also be a Lieutenant Vasquez and Newt figure from NECA, as well as a Kenner-toy inspired Ellen Ripley figure. More figures come in the form of an Aliens Queen & Power Loader and Ripley set in Funko’s ReAction series.
As for literature, Dark Horse Comics will feature exclusive covers at participating retailers for the ongoing Aliens series, and a deluxe 30th anniversary hardcover version of the original Aliens series from 1986. Meanwhile, Titan Books is launching a brand new novel, Alien: Invasion (The Rage War book 2) by Tim Lebbon.
(15) STRONG SIGNAL. SF Signal’s new Mind Meld, curated by Paul Weimer, delivers “Our Recent Faves from the Lighter Side of the Genre”.
Q: What books have you read, especially recently, that you’d recommend to others as a temporary vacation from the slings and arrows of our current world?
Melinda M. Snodgrass, Sue Burke, Rene Sears, Lyda Morehouse, Mari Ness, Kat Howard, Kelly Robson, Valerie Valdes, Charlie Jane Anders, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Ursula Vernon, Penny Reeve, and Erin Lindsey name those titles.
(16) NEOLOGIZER ROLL CALL. “Popular words invented by authors (infographic)” Kate Funk has created a visual that puts together the words coined by authors and used for the first time in their books.
Will R. says, “Who knew Dr. Seuss invented ‘nerd’? Cyberspace is about as scifi as it gets here. Grok would have been a good one to include.”
(17) SPECTRAL POLITICS. Vox Day also is at work on a non-Hugo sekrit project — Relativity and the ideological spectrum – involving a 9-point scale of political figures. Readers were asked to chime in.
One is extreme left, nine is extreme right. The goal is to clarify, not obscure or start arguments, so leave Hitler and anyone else likely to spark debate out of it.
- Vladimir Lenin
- Karl Marx
- Angela Merkel
- Bill Clinton
- John F. Kennedy
- George W. Bush
- Ronald Reagan
- Thomas Jefferson
- Ayn Rand
I have to say, among the readers’ suggestions brentg’s are my favorites, even if he disobeyed the instruction to stop at nine.
1. Windows 7
2. Windows XP
3. WFW 3.11
4. Windows 2000, sp3+
5. Windows 98 SE
7. Windows 95
9. Windows ME
5. eol / feanor
6. tom bombadill
(18) SCANNERS. A 1937 letter features in “Otto Binder on John W. Campbell” by Doug Ellis at Black Gate.
The letter is primarily of interest due to its discussion of John W. Campbell, a few months before Campbell would become editor of Astounding. It’s a shame that no more detailed record of the story telling game played at Binder’s house between him, Dr. John Clark, Frank Belknap Long, Campbell and Campbell’s wife exists; it would have been fascinating to sit in on this! Binder is clearly a fan of Campbell’s fiction (later on, when he found it difficult to sell to him at Astounding, he was not nearly as much a fan of his editing).
(19) IT’S ABOUT TIMES. John Scalzi tells about “My New Writing Gig”.
So here’s a cool thing: I, along with nine other folks, am one of the Los Angeles Times’ book section’s “Critics at Large.” This means from time to time in the pages of the Times, I’ll be writing about books, the universe and everything.
(20) DEADPOOL. Tom Knighton received word that a Special Edition Deadpool DVD is in the works. The release is quoted at his site.
I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this. “Director’s Cut” could be awesome. Then again, ramping it up to NC-17 could go either way. Still.
(21) WHEN WINDOWS 95 WAS YOUR FRIEND. At BrainJet, “This Windows 95 Infomercial Stars Two ‘Friends’ And It’s The Best ‘90s Throwback Ever”.
While Microsoft would like to have us believe that it’s the actors “Jen” and “Matty” (Jen’s cutesy little nickname for Matthew Perry) starring in the video, we all know they’re really playing their “Friends” characters “Rachel” and “Chandler” without saying so in case NBC decides to sue. Not only is Aniston rocking the Rachel haircut and primping and fluffing every chance she gets, but Perry plays Chandler to a T, cracking bad joke after bad joke and letting no silence go unfilled. He even refers to the receptionist as the “wicked witch of Windows 95” (one of his better one-liners if you ask us).
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Will R., and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]