2017 Ursa Major Awards

Image by EosFoxx

The 2017 Ursa Major Awards were announced at FurDU 2018 at Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia on May 4-6.

Best Motion Picture
Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (Directed by James Gunn; May 5)

Best Dramatic Series or Short Work
TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

  • Duck Tales [2017 reboot] (Directed by John Aoshima, Dana Terrace; Season 1, August 12 to December 2)

Best Novel
Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

  • The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)

Best Short Fiction
Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.

  • Lieutenant Kruger and the Mistress Jade Trophy Game, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (in The Cross Time Cafe; October 5)

Best Other Literary Work
Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

  • Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten (anthology; FurPlanet Productions; January 12)

Best Non-Fiction Work
Includes documentaries, opinion pieces, and news articles.

  • Furry Nation, by Joe Strike (Cleis Press; October 10)

Best Graphic Story
Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

  • DreamKeepers, by David & Liz Lillie (Internet; January 2 [#340] to December 18 [#385])

Best Comic Strip
Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 2 to December 29)

Best Magazine
Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

  • Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 5 to December 25)

Best Published Illustration
Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

  • David Lillie, cover for The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)

Best Game
Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

  • Night in the Woods (Developer: Infinite Fall, Publisher: Finji; February 21)

Best Website
Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

  • Inkbunny (furry art community)

Pixel Scroll 3/30/18 Round The Decay Of That Colossal Scroll, Boxless And Bare, The Lone And Level Pixels Stretch Away

(1) WSJ’S TOP SF OF 2017. Congratulations to all the authors who made the Wall Street Journal’s list of best 5 sf novels of the year 2017. Especially Gregory Benford, who sent me the news item. (The list came out in December but is behind a paywall.)

  • All Our Wrong Todays, by Elan Mastai
  • The Berlin Project, by Gregory Benford
  • Change Agent, by Daniel Suarez
  • Artemis, by Andy Weir
  • The Genius Plague by David Walton

(2) THEORIES OF EVOLUTION AND TIME TRAVEL. The Conversation’s Jordi Paps says the answer to the question “Would stepping on the first butterfly really change the history of evolution?” depends on how you believe evolution works.

Science fiction writers can’t seem to agree on the rules of time travel. Sometimes, as in Doctor Who (above), characters can travel in time and affect small events without appearing to alter the grand course of history. In other stories, such as Back To The Future, even the tiniest of the time travellers’ actions in the past produce major ripples that unpredictably change the future.

Evolutionary biologists have been holding a similar debate about how evolution works for decades. In 1989 (the year of Back To The Future Part II), the American palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould published his timeless book Wonderful Life, named after the classic movie that also involves time travel of sorts. In it, he proposed a thought experiment: what would happen if you could replay life’s tape, rewinding the history of evolution and running it again? Would you still see the same movie with all the evolutionary events playing out as before? Or would it be more like a reboot, with species evolving in different ways?

(3) RESOLVED. Rocket Stack Rank will comply with Charles Payseur’s request to drop him from the list of reviewers they track.

Charles Payseur acknowledged their response, and discussed some of comments made by Filers since the request hit the news yesterday. Jump on his thread here:

(4) WFC RATES WILL RISE. World Fantasy Convention 2018 registration rates are due to increase on April 1, from $200 to $250 for a full attending membership. If you become a member now you will still have time to nominate for this year’s World Fantasy Awards (for which the deadline is May 31.)

WFC2018 will be held at the Baltimore Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Nov 1–4, hosted by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) and Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA).

(5) THE BRADBURY FAMILY. On April 19, the Pasadena Museum of History presents a lecture by one of his daughters about “Growing Up with Ray Bradbury”.

Ray Bradbury’s daughter Ramona invites you to pull up a chair in her virtual living room as she shares an intimate evening of memories about growing up in the eclectic Bradbury household in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. The format is a conversation with historian Richard Schave (Esotouric Bus Adventures, Los Angeles), followed by a Q & A session.

Ramona will reminisce about life with her famous father, and share rare family photos and stories of weekend excursions to Hollywood Boulevard book shops and the Palos Verdes Peninsula (made more adventurous because her father didn’t drive!), eccentric family friends, special gatherings, and important public events.

(6) TWO ON ONE. Two NPR reviewers take on Ready Player One:

MONDELLO: A Willy Wonka prize worth playing for if you’re a gamer and a movie conceit worth playing with if you’re Steven Spielberg. Ernest Cline’s novel gave Halliday a consuming nostalgia for the 1980s, and who better to bring that to the screen? The filmmaker crams every corner of Wade’s cyberscapes with Deloreans, Batmobiles, aliens, King Kong, The Iron Giant. There’s Prince and Van Halen on the soundtrack and even a sequence where Spielberg lets loose his inner Kubrick. Wade, who calls himself Parzival in the OASIS, teams up with his best buddy, Aech…

Like the popular 2011 Ernest Cline science fiction novel on which it’s based, “Ready Player One” is an extended valentine to those pop culture relics, most of which came out in the ’80s and are thus beloved by people who grew up watching, well, Steven Spielberg movies. Spielberg avoids any allusions to his own films apart from a stray dinosaur who may or may not hail from “Jurassic Park.” But as one of the undisputed high priests of American popular entertainment, he is in many ways enshrining his own legacy. Frankly, I wish he’d been more careful with it.

(7) BOSON PURSUIT. Researchers say a “Higgs factory a ‘must for big physics'”.

Physicists had hoped that the [Large Hadron Collider] would turn up evidence of physics phenomena not explained by the Standard Model. So far, efforts to detect new physics have come away empty-handed, but studying the Higgs in more detail might break the impasse.

A successor to the Large Hadron Collider would be designed in a way that allows scientists to zero in on the Higgs boson.

The LHC works by smashing beams of proton particles together, but the collisions that produce the Higgs also produce many other particles. This makes it complicated to work out which collisions produce the Higgs boson.

A different type of particle smasher, called an electron-positron collider, should produce only a Higgs and another particle called a Z boson.

(8) VOYAGE TO THE MOON. A Kickstarter to fund the English translation of Georges Méliès’ autobiography hit its target in the first couple of days.

81 years ago, at the age of 77, Georges Méliès – the father of narrative and fantastical film – hand-wrote his autobiography; the story of the creation of cinema from not only a firsthand witness but also its greatest innovator. It has been completely unavailable since 1945 and has never been translated into English. This is one of the great unseen texts of cinema history.

I’ve had it translated. And it’s GREAT! Reading it blew my film-loving mind. A voice from history telling me in his own words about how cinema began and his role in it. Now I need your help to rescue this important, illuminating and fascinating testimony, to get it back into print and where it truly belongs – in our hands and on our bookshelves.

…. In 1937, a year before he died, he wrote longhand a 32 page autobiography detailing his life, his work and his observations on both. He sent it to a film historian who was writing a book about him. The first 500 copies of this book were packaged with a facsimile of the manuscript. What remains of that print run exists now only in the jealously guarded collections of film enthusiasts who have been lucky or wealthy enough to secure one.

This memoir is an enthralling story in which Méliès guides us from his childhood into his early career, explaining how all of the elements fell into place to put him in the perfect position to become a pioneer of cinema. He talks about becoming one of the first people in the world to see a projected moving image at a private demonstration by the Lumiére brothers and the international mission this inspired him to take to become a part of the new medium. He explains how and why he became the first impressario of cinema, how he built France’s first film studio and how he invented special effects techniques and helped define the very format of cinematic film. More than this, it’s a human story; at times braggadocios, joyous, humble and bitter. We learn how times and the industry changed, how he became the first victim of film piracy and how he ended up in his old age, forgotten, broke and selling toys and sweets in a tiny stall in Montparnasse train station. Most interesting to me was discovering that he was a man already aware of his legacy and surprisingly unhappy about how he could see he was going to be remembered. His memoir crackles with life and is a vivid account of the dawn of movies from its most colourful participant.

(9) HEAR FRITZ LEIBER. Fanac.org’s new YouTube video pairs a sound recording of Fritz Leiber’s “Monsters And Monster Lovers” talk from the 1964 Worldcon with selected images.

Pacificon II, the 22nd World Science Fiction Convention, was held in Oakland, CA in 1964. In this interesting audio with images, Fritz Leiber speaks eloquently about his favorite literary monsters (from Yog Sothoth to the forest in Peer Gynt), the relationship of science fiction to traditional monsters, why we are drawn to these characters, and on horror in a time of war. The first 10 minutes or so are a loving listing of characters, and the meat of the talk starts after that. This material was provided by The Southern California Institute for Fan Interests (SCIFI), and Jerome Scott, Director of Projects for SCIFI in LA.

 

(10) MAYNARD OBIT. Bill Maynard (1928-2018): British actor, died March 30, aged 89. Genre appearances: You Too Can Have a Body (1960), The Boy with Two Heads (all seven episodes, 1974), Zodiac (one episode, 1974).

(11) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • March 30, 1988 Beetlejuice premiered. The Hollywood Reporter has reposted its review of the film.
  • March 30, 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hit theaters.

(12) BIRTHDAY AUTHOR. Steven H Silver’s “Birthday Reviews” series at Black Gate celebrates “Chad Oliver’s ‘Transformer’”.

Oliver’s writing career began with the publication of the short story “The Land of Lost Content” in the November 1950 issue of Super Science Stories. He published short fiction through his career, with his final story published in 1991. During that time, he also published six novels and collaborated occasionally with Charles Beaumont and Garvin Berry. His 1984 story “Ghost Town” was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Short Story.

(13) WILD ANIMAL WARNING. Your Charlton Police Department knows some coyotes are more dangerous to themselves.

(14) ACE REPORTER. Jon Del Arroz says he will be on hand for the Hugo finalist announcement at the 7 Stars Bar & Grill in San Jose tomorrow. The bar’s online schedule promises there will be Bottomless Mimosas and karaoke on Saturday – no wonder he can’t stay away!

(15) FREE READ. The winner of the “Quantum Shorts” fiction contest has been posted.

Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition….

The mind-bending possibilities of quantum physics lend themselves to philosophy—to wondering about the theory’s implications for the meaning of life, the idea of free will, the fate of us all. A talented pool of writers have capitalized on those implications to produce an impressive array of entries in this year’s Quantum Shorts contest, which invites short fiction based on the ideas of quantum mechanics. Scientific American and Nature partnered with the Center for Quantum Technologies in Singapore, which organizes the annual competition. Judges, including Scientific American and Nature editors, selected a winner and runner-up in two categories—“open” and “youth”—and online voting identified a “people’s choice” favorite; all winners will receive a cash award, a certificate and an engraved trophy.

(16) NEW FORNAX. Charles Rector’s 21st issue of his fanzine Fornax [PDF file] is available at EFanzines. Here’s what’s inside —

Among other things is an essay about how I was treated as a handicapped student by gym teachers while I was in the public schools during the 1970’s.  There is also an essay about how the Big Tech companies such as Google, Twitter and You Tube have been using their power to censor political speech by conservatives and socialists and how this all ties in with the allegations that all anti-establishment activity is tied in with Vladimir Putin and his gang in Russia.  There is also an essay about irresponsible rhetoric such as Guy H. Lillian III’s defense of Al Franken and this Daniel Greenfield character who claims that we are on the verge of “civil war” because there is a great deal of opposition to the Trump Administration. There is also a look back at the Solar Empire game of yesteryear.

There are also some essays by both Robin Bright and Gerd Maximovic as well as poetry by Denny E. Marshall.

(17) RED PELT, BLUE PELT. Huffington Post reports “Alt-Right Furries Are Raging Online, And Leftist Furries Wonder What Is To Be Done”.

…However, the vocal subgroup of Alt-Furries has been hard at work asserting their space within the movement of late, and it’s this very spirit of inclusivity they wish to expunge.

“The furry ‘community’ is a fandom that has been overrun by liberal ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ and as a result it’s become sanctuary to hardcore paedophiles and
people with serious mental problems,” the unnamed author of Nazi furry erotica “The Furred Reich” told The New Statesman, which has been doggedly covering the Alt-Furry scene for years.

The core furry community, then, finds itself in quite the bind: Can a group founded upon the idea of consummate tolerance embrace a clique that’s so staunchly intolerant?

For the opposing furries leading an outright fight against the alt-right, the answer is no. Dogpatch Press, a furry news source offering “fluff pieces every week day,” often rails against Alt-Furries and their attempts at indoctrination. In February, a Dogpatch writer with the fursona Patch O’Furr published a “deep dive into the Altfurry mission to ‘redpill’ fandom with hate,” warning readers about the #AltFurry mission to indoctrinate members of the fandom and spread its white supremacist teachings.

According to O’Furr, furry fandom is a perfect venue for alt-right recruiters. Just as Pepe the Frog (RIP) served as a seemingly harmless, comedic package through which to promulgate racist, misogynist and xenophobic beliefs, fursonas can act as effective, hirsute fronts for extreme views. As Furry fandom member Deo elaborated in a Medium post, furry communities ? often populated by “socially awkward internet nerds” ? are prime targets for alt-right trolls, who target young people, outsiders and insecure, white men.

(18) KERMODE. Here are three recent genre film reviews by YouTuber Mark Kermode.

  • Ready Player One

“Really properly good fun!”

 

  • Annihilation (audio only)

“Shame I didn’t get the chance to see it in the cinema” and “a really fine piece of work”

 

  • A Wrinkle in Time

“I’d rather a film aimed high and tripped than played it safe, and I think A Wrinkle in Time does that”

 

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, Steve Green, Chip Hitchcock, IanP,Cat Eldridge, Andrew Porter, John A Arkansawyer, Gregory Benford, Ann Marie Rudolph, Brian Z., Charles Rector, with Carl Slaughter as The Beaver for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Niall McAuley.]

2017 Ursa Major Awards Nominees

Image by EosFoxx

The 2017 Ursa Major Awards final ballot is open for voting from March 1 to March 31 on the UMA website.

The winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony at FurDU 2018 at Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia on May 4-6.

Best Motion Picture
Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

  • Ferdinand (Directed by Carlos Saldanha; December 15)
  • Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (Directed by James Gunn; May 5)
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (Directed by Jayson Thiessen; October 6)
  • Rock Dog (Directed by Ash Brannon; February 24)
  • War for the Planet of the Apes (Directed by Matt Reeves; July 14)

Best Dramatic Series or Short Work
TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

  • Doodle Toons (Directed by Jack C; Pilot episode to “Deleted Scene: Fast Food Follies”)
  • Duck Tales [2017 reboot] (Directed by John Aoshima, Dana Terrace; Season 1, August 12 to December 2)
  • Here’s the Plan (Directed by Fernanda Frick; April 27)
  • Kouka and Bibi (by Dan Variano; January 8)
  • Mascot Fur Life (Directed by Jens Wernstedt; December 23)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, Denny Lu, Mike Myhre; Season 7, episodes 1 to 26)
  • OK KO! Let’s Be Heroes (Directed by Hwang Ki-hoo, Chang-woo Shin, Sunjae Lee, Byungjae Oh, Eunyung Byun, Sunhung Kim; Season 1 Episode 1 to 42)

Best Novel
Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

  • Always Gray in Winter, by Mark J. Engels (Thurston Howl Publications; August 10)
  • Black Friday, by Jan Stryvant (CreateSpace; September 8)
  • Kismet, by Watts Martin (Argyll Productions, FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
  • Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)

Best Short Fiction
Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.

  • Behesht, by Dwale (in ROAR volume 8; June 30)
  • Beyond the Great Divide, by S. H. Mansouri (in Cirsova Heroic Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine #5; Spring 2017)
  • Lieutenant Kruger and the Mistress Jade Trophy Game, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (in The Cross Time Cafe; October 5)
  • The Moon Like an Unhatched Egg, by Mary E. Lowd (in Symbol of a Nation; June 30)
  • Rickety V, by Rechan (in Intimate Little Secrets; March 24)

Best Other Literary Work
Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

  • Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, edited by Madison Scott-Clary (anthology; Thurston Howl Publications; November 9)
  • Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten (anthology; FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
  • Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan (collection; FurPlanet Productions; March 24)
  • ROAR volume 8, edited by Mary E. Lowd (anthology; Bad Dog Books; June 30)
  • Symbol of a Nation, edited by Fred Patten (anthology; GoAL Publications; June 30)

Best Non-Fiction Work
Includes documentaries, opinion pieces, and news articles.

  • Furries Among Us 2; More Essays On Furries By Furries, edited by Thurston Howl (Thurston Howl Productions; August 18)
  • Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015, by Fred Patten (McFarland & Co.; January 3))
  • Furry Nation, by Joe Strike (Cleis Press; October 10)
  • The Shocking Furry Fandom Conversation. Yes, Really! (on YouTube, featuring Stefan Molyneux; October 16)
  • 3 Ursa Major-ly Painful Victories, by Rooview (on YouTube; April 23)

Best Graphic Story
Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

  • A&H Club, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 7 to November 25)
  • DreamKeepers, by David & Liz Lillie (Internet; January 2 [#340] to December 18 [#385])
  • Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 2 to December 25)
  • Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (internet; Lackadaisy Gimmickry to Lackadaisy Deliria)
  • TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (internet; January 5 to December 28)

Best Comic Strip
Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 4 to December 29)
  • DreamKeepers Prelude, by David & Liz Lillie (Internet; January 6 [#350] to December 28 [#393])
  • Freefall, by Mark Stanley (Internet; January 2 to December 29)
  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 2 to December 29)

Best Magazine
Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

  • Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 5 to December 25)
  • Flayrah, edited by GreenReaper, Sonious, and Dronon (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • FurryFandom.es, edited by Mike Retriever (Internet; February 19 to October 9)
  • InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Typewriter Emergencies: A Journal of Furry Lit, edited by Weasel (Weasel Press; May)

Best Published Illustration
Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

  • Bone, cover for Always Gray in Winter by Mark J. Engels (Thurston Howl Publications; August 10)
  • Baron Engel, Prepare to Engage the Enemy, cover for A Different Perspective by Bernard Doove (June 8)
  • Ashley Foy, Valentine’s Gifts (February 14)
  • Teagan Gavet, cover for Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
  • Teagan Gavet, cover for ROAR vol, 8, edited by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30)
  • Idess, cover for Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • David Lillie, cover for The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)

Best Game
Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

  • Cuphead (Developer and Publisher: StudioMDHR Entertainment; September 29)
  • Night in the Woods (Developer: Infinite Fall, Publisher: Finji; February 21)
  • Sonic Mania (Developer: PagodaWest Games and Headcannon, Publisher: Sega; August 15)
  • Star Fox 2 (Developer: Nintendo and Argonaut Games, Publisher: Nintendo; September 29)
  • Yooka – Laylee (Developers: Playtonic Games; April 11)

Best Website
Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

  • The Cross Time Cafe (forum for comic discussions, including many on the Recommended List)
  • e621.com (art, discussions, etc.))
  • Furry Writers’ Guild (Supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators)
  • Inkbunny (furry art community)
  • WikiFur (furry fandom encyclopedia)

[Thanks to Fred Patten for the story.]

New Fred Patten Anthology
What the Fox?!

What the Fox?!, edited by Fred Patten, will be published by Thurston Howl Publications on March 3, and is available for pre-order.  It will be for sale on the THP online catalogue afterwards.

From a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal deliveryperson turned into a werechihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, a dog movie screenwriter, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus: each author’s favorite animal joke, and a recommended reading bibliography.

What the Fox?! is an anthology of 21 original short stories and two reprints, of anthropomorphic animals in humorous situations. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of fantasy humor.  Each story has an illustration by Tabsley (the cover artist) or Jeqon.

The anthology is available in two editions.  The regular edition is in trade paperback, and the illustrations are in black-&-white and grayscale.  The deluxe edition is in hardcover and the illustrations are in full color. Each edition has a different cover.

Contents:

  • FAPD, by Sofox
  • Perfect Harmony, by Jaleta Clegg
  • Counter-Curlture, by Televassi
  • The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword, by Nidhi Singh
  • A Web of Truths, by James Hudson
  • Suddenly, Chihuahua, by Madison Keller
  • Kenyak’s Saga, by MikasiWolf
  • Rapscallions, by Mary E. Lowd
  • Dazzle Joins the Screenwriters’ Guild, by Scott Bradfield
  • A Late Lunch, by Nightshade
  • Riddles in the Road, by Searska GreyRaven
  • The Lost Unicorn, by Shawn Frazier
  • Boomsday, by Jennie Brass
  • Oh! What a Night!, by Tyson West
  • Moral for Dogs, by Maggie Veness
  • Broadstripe, Virginia Smells Like Skunk, by Skunkbomb
  • A Legend In His Own Time, by Fred Patten
  • The Cat’s Meow, by Lisa Pais
  • Woolwertz Department Store Integrated Branch Employee Manual: Human-Furred Relations,  by Frances Pauli
  • A List of Erotica Clichés You Should Avoid in Your Heat Submission, by Dark End
  • The Best and Greatest Story Ever, by Mog Moogle
  • Self-Insertion, by Jaden Drackus
  • The Best and Greatest Sequel: Pron Harder Damnit!, by Some Guy Who Is Definitely Not The Main Character

Regular edition:  $18.00.  Deluxe edition: $25.00.  291 pages. Cover by Tabsley; 28 interior illustrations by Tabsley and Jeqon.   Regular ISBN 978-1-945247-30-9.  Deluxe ISBN 978-1-945247-31-6.

Pixel Scroll 2/25/18 I, Pixel

By JJ:

(1) ALSO #METOO. In a follow-on to Myke Cole’s mea culpa as reported in the February 15 Pixel Scroll (item #3) about a thread on industry harassment at School Library Journal, author Janci Patterson, in a post entitled “Sexual Harassment, Apologies, and Forgiveness” explains how Cole’s willingness to own, and apologize for, his past behavior has made a huge difference in her life:

That is what it was like being a woman in publishing who had been harassed. I watched people discrediting the women who spoke up on the basis of their comments being anonymous. If it was true, why would they need anonymity?

I knew why. After Zoe Quinn, women in my position all know. We are all one internet post away from being Zoe Quinn.

And then Myke apologized. If you haven’t yet, take a minute and read what he wrote. What he says describes my experience exactly. It’s a damn good apology. He admits to what he did, in specific terms. He expresses that he was unaware that he did it, but he doesn’t treat that as an excuse. He addresses his victims directly and says he’s sorry. He expresses additional sorrow. He talks about both what he’s going to do to make reparations and also how he’s going to address his behavior going forward.

Reading that changed the whole world for me. I had been watching the cultural shifts in our post-#metoo, post-Weinstein-scandal world, but for me, this was the final piece. In that moment, I went from a scared woman with a difficult secret to a woman who could speak authentically. Who could tell the truth. No one could jump on me in any kind of credible way anymore. It was true. It happened. Myke admitted it was true. He saw the hypocrisy in his feminism. He owned it.

He set me free.

Another SFF author who was mentioned in the comments on the SLJ thread, Dan Wells, also posted his thoughts on harassment and being willing to step up and do better:

I have always believed that you should believe a woman who says she’s been harassed, so I believe these women, too.

And then I was accused of being a harasser.

And then the same woman recanted her accusation.

I do not know who this woman is, as she posted anonymously both times, but I want to take this opportunity to pubicly accept her apology, and to thank her for coming forward.

But here’s the thing: I believed her. Obviously I didn’t believe that I had assaulted someone and then forgotten about it, or anything ridiculous like that. But I was – and am – willing to believe that without intending to and without noticing I had done something to make a woman feel uncomfortable or unwelcome or unsafe…

I could have raged against the injustice of this comment – and to be perfectly honest, a part of me did – but the more useful, more helpful response was to sit down and take a good hard look at myself and my actions. What have I been doing, and what can I do in the future, to make the conventions I attend and the spaces I inhabit safer for other people?

Recanted accusation or not, I found some stuff I need to work on. Not a long history of abusive behavior, but a tune-up on boundaries, and on thinking before I speak.

(2) THE LATTER IS NOT RECOMMENDED. SFF author Jeremiah Tolbert spent last Saturday at the Planet ComicCon Kansas City 2018, and he says, “ComicCons Are More Fun With Children. You Should Make Some, or Steal Somebody’s”.

So given that I’m not big on photos with famous people (but definitely not above walking past autograph alley to oogle them and say, without fail, “oh, they’re shorter than I expected”), and I am not really a collector of toys or comics, why would I ever attend these things? Two simple reasons: to meet up with professionals attending who are good friends and to watch my tiny human
lose.
his.
shit.
Little Dude Tolbert (hereafter referred to LDT) will be four in June, and he’s developing into quite the little protogeek.

 

(3) CONTRACTUALLY DEFICIENT. In a public post on Patreon, Jason Sanford reported:

Since the first of the year I’ve written a couple of times about Spectacle Magazine, a new quarterly speculative fiction publication (see here and here for previous articles). The magazine is published and edited by Kevin Hale and Danny Dumas and aims to be a high-end venue for thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction focused on SF/F themes.

Three days ago the Spectacle’s editors sent out a number of story acceptances. Normally you’d expect authors to be excited about acceptances, but news quickly spread that many of them were not happy with the contract terms being offered. I personally had multiple authors contact me about issues around the contracts they were offered…

There are several issues there, including with derivative rights. At worst this derivative rights grab could allow Spectacle to create films or video games or nearly anything else using the stories they purchased and the authors wouldn’t be able to object.

There are also other issues with the contract, such as not laying out when the work would be published or that the rights will revert to the author in the case the story is never published.

Shortly afterward, Spectacle Magazine published the following tweet:

Another author on Twitter noted, with astonishment:

(4) DEADLINE EXTENDED. Worldcon 76 has announced that the deadline for submissions to their Academic Track have been extended to March 1, 2018:

Participants in the Academic Track will have a chance at winning a “Best Academic Track Paper” cash prize from The Heinlein Society.  This $250 prize will be awarded based on the presentations as given at Worldcon 76.  Given this new opportunity, we will extend the submission deadline to March 1st.

Details on submitting can be found at the Worldcon 76 website.

(5) THIS IS THE FUTURE THAT FILERS WANT. Via Foz Meadows:

http://peppylilspitfuck.tumblr.com/post/171099260572/fozmeadows-majorgenerally-writing-prompt-s

(6) TAKING CREDIT. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, in her latest column “Business Musings: Editorial Encroachment”, comments on the recent trend she’s been seeing of editors requiring equal authorial credit on books:

Last week, as I was searching for a friend’s book on Amazon, I made a loathsome discovery. My friend’s book, which is up for preorder, lists her name and the name of someone else on the byline.

I had never heard of that someone else. So I clicked on the preorder, and what did I see? A cover, with just my friend’s name on it.

So I glanced up at the title. Beneath it was this byline:

My Friend (Author), Annoying Person (Editor)

I went through the roof. My friend wrote that book. She hired Annoying Person to edit the book.

I looked up Annoying Person and found her terms and conditions. She sounds like a fairly knowledgeable editor. She only handles copy editing and line editing (although it sounds like she would have a pretty heavy hand). She explicitly says she does not do developmental editing.

Which means she has done exactly nothing on this book. She didn’t come up with the concept. She didn’t brainstorm the characters. She didn’t improve the plot. She didn’t imagine the setting.

All she did was tweak the words.

So why the hell is she getting credit for this book?

Rusch explains in detail why she believes that going along with this is damaging to an author’s brand, and offers advice to authors who are faced with such contracts by their editors.

(7) CHESHIRE CATS. In a Twitter thread, lindsay beth explains how your SJW Credential always manages to magically appear, despite not having been in any of the places you’ve looked: (click the date/time stamp to read the whole thread)

(8) NEBULOSITY. Filer Cora Buhlert has posted “Some Thoughts on the 2017 Nebula Award Nominees”, and offers her thoughts on the shortlists of the various categories as well as some possible trends.

In general, what’s notable about the adult fiction categories is that Uncanny dominates the short fiction categories, followed by Tor.com and Clarkesworld. Tor.com absolutely dominates the novella category, while Orbit dominates best novel. The decline of the big three print magazines continues. F&SF and Asimov’s managed to garner one nomination each, while Analog didn’t get any at all. Only a single nominee in the fiction categories is self-published. Thematically, I don’t see a clear trend beyond a preferences for works with historical settings.

Buhlert’s piece contains more detailed analysis of individual entries, as well as of the levels of diversity reflected by the shortlist authors.

 

(9) DOCTOR WHEN. The Gallifrey Times says that during the February 21 BBC Worldwide Showcase Panel at Liverpool’s Echo Arena, it appeared to be confirmed that Doctor Who will be returning in October 2018.

In the background, we see a promotional photo of the Thirteenth Doctor with some text that reads:

Series 11 – 1×65 – 9×50 – delivers October 2018

You can view the Liverpool Echo’s photo gallery of the event here.

(10) ACHIEVEMENT GATEKEPT. Experienced gamer and blogger Mysty Vander describes how she conquered her social anxiety to attend a gaming convention in 2017, only to be confronted with outrageous sexism, in “Honey, Let the Real Gamers Play”:

We reached a point where my Gunslinger passed a search check nobody else did. I had found a letter. My character was quiet, stoic, and kept to herself – she likely would only divulge the necessary information. When the GM took the letter out, he handed it to the man playing Freya instead of myself. Okay…that’s fine, not a big deal, as long as I get to read it in the end (being partially deaf at a convention, I truly needed to read it with my own eyes to understand all of it).

That didn’t quite happen. Freya’s player read it, passed it along to the older man beside him, and then the note went no further. “Oh, so we need to find the South Gate?” Freya inquired.

The player beside him responded, “Seems like it,” and handed the note back to the GM.

“May I see the note?” I asked.

Without hesitation, the player playing Freya responded, “No need, we know what it meant, sweetie,” he said with a smile.

(11) JUMPING ON THE MAPWAGON. The February 19 Pixel Scroll (item #9), mentions an artist who has done Lord of the Rings-style maps of UK and US National Parks. Kim Huett points out that an Australian artist has done a map of Canberra in the style of Game of Thrones.

(12) BIRTHDAYS.

  • Born February 25, 1966Alexis Denisof (The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Born February 25, 1966Téa Leoni (Deep Impact, Jurassic Park III)
  • Born February 25, 1971Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things)
  • Born February 25, 1986Jameela Jamil (The Good Place)

(13) BUG REPORTS. In xkcd’s 2018 CVE List, Randall Munroe details the most recently-discovered Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures of software, of which we must all be wary. Be sure to mouseover the image for a special Security Disclosure.

(14) DEBUNKING THE MYTHS. In “Hugo Myth Season Again”, Cheryl Morgan dispels the idea that nominators must have read exhaustively in order to be legitimate nominators:

Voting is open for this year’s Hugo Awards, and consequently I need to get back to dispelling the strange ideas about the Hugos that seem to proliferate at this time of the year.

This post has been inspired in particular by the latest episode of the Coode Street Podcast where Gary and Jonathan do their usual fine job, but don’t quite get everything right.

Something that they do get right is the “I haven’t read enough” myth. Every year people trot out the idea that if you haven’t read “everything” then you are not eligible to nominate. This is nonsense.

However, Morgan says that there is another persistent myth to which even the Coode Street Regulars have fallen, which must be corrected:

Finally we come to the bit where the podcast goes totally off the rails. Jonathan resurrects one of the best known zombies of Hugo lore, the idea that the Hugos were once for science fiction only and were later changed to include fantasy. This is not entirely Jonathan’s fault. He got the story from Justin Ackroyd. I have had this discussion with Justin before. He was wrong then and he is still wrong now.

 

(15) I GOT YOUR EXHIBIT RIGHT HERE. Filer von Dimpleheimer, after seeing the announcement in the February 18 Pixel Scroll (item #21) that the exhibit “A Conversation Larger Than the Universe: Science Fiction and the Literature of the Fantastic from the Collection of Henry Wessells” would be taking place at The Grolier Club, stopped by when he was in the neighborhood. You can see his photos of the exhibit here.

– photo by von Dimpleheimer

(16) INADVERTENT DOXXING. In an article entitled “Furry Website Leaks Real Identities”, Medium contributor Sky raises some issues for concern regarding the registration software system used by a number of fannish conventions.

A “feature” in the popular convention registration system ‘Convention Master’ lets anyone find out your fursona name just by typing your real name.

The software is used widely by many conventions, especially in the furry scene. Civet Solutions, the maker of the software, boast “over one hundred and fifty thousand registrations processed.” If you’ve ever attended a furry convention, there’s decent odds they have your data on file… and are now leaking it with no plans to ever stop.

During online pre-registration, you enter your first and last name to see if you have an account at that convention. Unfortunately, anyone can do this. If you’ve ever pre-registered for that convention, or registered on site in a previous year, you have an account. And everyone can see you’ve attended that con with just your first and last name.

Even worse, your fursona name is also displayed.

Yep, that’s right. Anyone can find your fursona name if they know your real name.

Known affected furry cons:

  • Alamo City Furry Invasion
  • Califur
  • Fur-Eh!
  • Furlandia
  • Pacific Anthropomorphics Weekend
  • Scotiacon
  • Vancoufur
  • Wild Prairie Fur Con

Known affected non-furry cons:

  • Arisia
  • RustyCon

The article’s author discusses potential personal and professional implications of the public accessibility of members’ information, as well as possible avenues for remediation. They have also added a follow-up:

UPDATE NOTE: This article was updated with a section of feedback from Civet Solutions at the end of the article. Although the real name look-up feature in question will unfortunately not be removed from the software in future, I encourage you to read the update over to better understand their point of view and their future development plans.

(17) OLD PEOPLE READ YOUR SFF. In the past, James Davis Nicoll took requests on a commission basis only. However, he has now opened a Suggestion Box. There’s no guarantee that the work you suggest will be reviewed; however, submissions are welcome.

(18) YOU SHOULD SEE THIS. At Skiffy and Fanty, Stephen Geigen-Miller offers his “Best Graphic Story Hugo Recommendations”:

One of my biggest personal goals with these reviews – I mention this in the introduction to every column, and unpacked it a bit in my Month of Joy post – is to bring more, and different, deserving SFFnal comics, webcomics and graphic novels to the attention of SF&F readers.

That’s especially important when when it gets to be Hugo nomination season; I want to see a diverse, inclusive, smart Best Graphic Story category that reflects the breadth of the material that’s out there, and I want other genre readers to have the chance to find and fall in love with those comics, like I have.

(19) WHY SETI IS CONTRAINDICATED.

(20) ANNIHILATED. At The Verge, Annihilation and Ex Machina director Alex Garland talks about using sci-fi to explore self-destruction:

I think the main thematic preoccupation probably belongs primarily to the film, which is really about self-destruction. It’s about the nature of self-destruction in a literal sense: cells have life cycles and stars have life cycles and plants and the universe and us. You, me, everyone. But also psychological forms of self-destruction.

It was born out of a funny kind of preoccupation I started to have, that everybody is self-destructive, which is a strange thing to notice. I think a lot of self-destruction is very obvious. [Gestures to cigarettes on the table.] That’s an obvious self-destruction, right? And if a friend of yours is a heroin addict or an alcoholic, that’s an obvious kind of self-destruction. But there are also… You’ve also got friends, or people you encounter, who are super comfortable in their own skin, and very self-possessed, and feel like they have understood some sort of secret to existence that you’re not party to. And then you start to see, no, that’s not quite right. It’s more complicated than that. And fissures and fault lines appear, and between the fissures and the fault lines, you see bits of behavior that doesn’t really make sense – like they’re dismantling things in their lives for no good reason.

In “People Have Accused Annihilation of Whitewashing. Here’s How Its Director and Stars RespondedTIME Magazine reports:

Anticipation for the movie has been high since the release of the first trailer last fall. But recently, some, including the advocacy group Media Action Network for Asian Americans, have accused the film of whitewashing the roles played by Portman’s and Leigh’s characters, saying the characters on which they are based are of Asian descent and Native American descent, respectively, in the trilogy. In a statement, Alieesa Badreshia, an MANAA board member, said that writer-director Alex Garland “exploits the story but fails to take advantage of the true identities of each character.”

Others have pointed out that revelations of the two characters’ ethnic backgrounds are not made until subsequent books in the series.

In response to the criticism, Garland provided the following statement to TIME:

This is an awkward problem for me, because I think whitewashing is a serious and real issue, and I fully support the groups drawing attention to it.

But the characters in the novel I read and adapted were not given names or ethnicities. I cast the film reacting only to the actors I met in the casting process, or actors I had worked with before. There was no studio pressure to cast white. The casting choices were entirely mine.

As a middle-aged white man, I can believe I might at times be guilty of unconscious racism, in the way that potentially we all are. But there was nothing cynical or conspiratorial about the way I cast this movie.

While Portman, Leigh and Novotny are white, co-stars Thompson and Rodriguez are women of color. Oscar Isaac, who plays Portman’s character’s husband in the film, is of Guatemalan and Cuban descent.

 

[Thanks to Cora Buhlert, James Davis Nicoll, Jason Sanford, Kim Huett, RedWombat, ULTRAGOTHA, and von Dimpleheimer for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 Contributing Editor of the Day JJ.]

2017 Ursa Major Awards Nominations Open

Image by EosFoxx

Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards have begun and will continue until February 15. Click here to participate.

To be eligible, a work must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical (for example the intelligent rabbits in Watership Down for the former, and Bugs Bunny for the latter.) Simply including an animal character is not sufficient to qualify. Non-animal characters such as Wall-E are also anthropomorphic.

The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.

The twelve categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Nonfiction, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.

Many nominations are likely to come from the 2017 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible; first published during January to December 2017.

The final ballot will be announced on March 1 and voting will take place until the end of March.

The ballots will be counted, the trophies made, and the results will be announced at the award presentations in Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, at FurDU 2018, scheduled for May 4-6.

[Thanks to Mark Hepworth for the story.]

New Patten Anthology Features Anthropomorphic Animals at War

Dogs of War II: Aftermath, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Midwest FurFest 2017 in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois over the November 30-December 3 four-day weekend.  The book can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet Productions.  It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Dogs of War II: Aftermath is an all-original anthology of 20 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, from the past to the future, on land, at sea, and in space.

From bioengineered military dogs with Artificial Intelligence to a fawn trying to prove he is a stag, a horse sailor on a warship, a canid-ape space war, a self-aware robot bird, a fox soldier passed over for a deserved promotion, reindeer Vikings, animal Sea Bees constructing an island airstrip, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.

Contents

  • Dog, Extended, by Cairyn
  • Remembrance, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden
  • Scars, by Televassi
  • The Surface Tension, by Dwale
  • My Brother’s Shadow, by M. R. Anglin
  • Close to Us, by MikasiWolf
  • Lime Tiger, by Slip-Wolf
  • Umbra’s Legion: The Destruction of Ismara, by Geoff Galt
  • Umbra’s Legion: Charon’s Obol, by Adam Baker
  • The Call, by Lord Ikari
  • Every Horse Will Do His Duty, by Thurston Howl
  • Matched Up, by K. Hubschmid
  • The Son of Goulon Stumptail, by NightEyes DaySpring
  • Noble, by Thomas “Faux” Steele
  • Trial by Error, by Jaden Drackus
  • The Night the Stars Fell, by KC Alpinus
  • Tears of the Sea, by MikasiWolf
  • The Pack, by Argyron
  • Red Engines, by Kris Schnee
  • Going Home, by Miles Reaver

Price:  $19.95.  478 pages.  Wraparound cover by Teagan Gavet.   ISBN 978-1-61450-397-2.

Pixel Scroll 9/9/17 The Map Is Not The Epic Fantasy Just As The Pixel Is Not The Scroll

(1) FURRY COUNCILMAN OUSTED. A city councilman in the eastern U.S. was pressured into quitting after his activities as a furry fan became a source of public controversy. The Danbury, Connecticut News Times has the story: “New Milford councilman resigns after furor over ‘furry’ activities”.

Town Council member Scott Chamberlain had never made a secret of his deep involvement in Furry Fandom, a subculture of adults who dress in mascot-like animal costumes, attend role-playing conventions and interact regularly online.

But an uproar ensued when a town resident posted on a community Facebook page several screenshots of Chamberlain’s profile from a private website catering to “furries,” many of whom participate in or write about unusual sexual practices. The profile includes a list of Chamberlain’s “loves,” “likes” and “hates,” some sexual in nature, but also said that he “tolerates” rape.

In an interview at midday Thursday, Chamberlain explained his involvement in the “furry” community as a harmless hobby.

“It’s nothing to do with sex; it’s an interest in cartoon animals,” said the first-term Democrat, who was up for re-election.

But Mayor David Gronbach, saying elected officials should be held to a “higher standard,” called for Chamberlain’s immediate resignation, and within two hours party officials said he would resign all his town and party positions by Monday morning.

(2) PROGRESS. The “Help Lezli See (Eye Surgery)” campaign has now raised $6,525 of its $8,000 goal. The contributions have come from 130 donors, including Game of Thrones producer David Benioff.

(3) GENRE GROWTH. At Amazing Stories David Gerrold has a guest editorial, “Humanity’s’ R&D Department – Science Fiction”.

The evolution of science fiction is a reflection of our changing culture. Attitudes that were commonplace in the past have been recognized as antiquated, quaint, and obsolete.

Our national conversation is the result of our diverse history. We’re not the proverbial melting pot — no, we’re a tossed salad. Every new wave of immigrants adds new ingredients to the mix, new flavors to discover; but all arrive with the same dream, a place to build a better life. We are immigrants, or we are the descendants of immigrants, and as a people we are learning to recognize the strength and value of our national diversity — it gives us a greater sense of the global village.

So, yes, it is inevitable that science fiction authors will explore that diversity — expanded roles for women, new definitions of gender and sexuality, the contributions of People of Color and other non-white ethnicities. We’ve discovered the overlooked skills of the aged and the disabled, the unusual and extraordinary ratiocinations of people who are neuro-atypical. The next generation of authors are exploriong vast new landscapes of possibility — places to explore and discover ways of being human previously unconsidered.

Even as science extends its reach outward, probes journeying as far as Pluto, telescopes peering to the farthest edges of the universe, as we expand our knowledge of what’s out there, some of our most ambitious authors are turning their attention to a different frontier —exploring the workings of the human soul.

We’ve seen some remarkable work, truly transformative — mind bending. Yes, it’s non-traditional — so what? Science fiction has always been non-traditional. It has always been “that weird stuff.” It has always been subtly subversive — and sometimes even openly dangerous.

(4) SPACE FOR YOU. Brandon O’Brien muses about the genre:

Further down he says:

(5) STRANGE HORIZONS. Elsewhere, O’Brien encourages people to participate in the “Strange Horizons Fund Drive 2017”. $4,726 out of $16,000.

(6) AWARD WORTHY. The Hugo Award Book Club waxes nostalgic about “The science fiction art of Erik Nitsche”.

There was no Hugo Award given for Best Artist in 1957 at the 15th Worldcon in London. But since awards were given in other categories, there is no provision in the current rules of the WSFS constitution to award any Retro Hugos for that year. Which is a shame, because some of the finest work from one of the most innovative graphic designers of the era had started verging into the realm of science fiction in 1955 and 1956. The name Erik Nitsche is rarely brought up in conversations of science fiction, but is well-known to historians of graphic design. In 1955, the Swiss-born designer had been hired by General Dynamics to create promotional imagery for the organization’s annual International Conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy (ICPUAE).

(7) WASTED ON THE YOUNG? In The Guardian, Joanna Walsh asserts “All the awards for young writers amount to discrimination”.

A few years ago I wrote an article for the Guardian on ageism in the literary world, about the predilection of publications like Granta, the New Yorker and Buzzfeed for authors under the age of 40. The problem hasn’t gone away and on Tuesday I wrote an open letter to the Royal Society of Literature, after it called for nominations for 40 new fellows under 40.

Encouraging young writers is laudable. After all, it’s increasingly difficult to get started. Publishers’ advances are low and getting lower; arts degrees are more expensive than Stem subjects; social security is fiercely tested. Which must mean that those most able to pay for a writing course, or those most able to take time off work to write while still young, are those most likely to have money, security, contacts, confidence. There’s a correlation between setting an age bar and encouraging the already privileged.

All writers were young once, and many start writing young, but not all begin their careers as published authors at that point. Leaving aside the fact that some only decide to start writing later in life, many factors affect one’s ability to commit to writing seriously. Besides income issues, age bars can lead an organisation into worrying territory. Authors from outside the perceived cultural mainstream who do not already see their voices represented – LGBTQ writers, writers of colour – are sometimes slow to recognise the contribution they can make, or to feel like their voices will be valued.

Age is a feminist issue. Careers, delayed by years looking after children or other dependents, are mostly women; residencies that offer no childcare or require long stays are an easy way to sift female candidates out of contention. Older women are already told every day, in ways ranging from the subtle to the blatant, that they are irrelevant and should shut up. Multiply this by, say, race or gender, and the courage required to put work out is even greater. Or the potential writer might not be the carer, but the cared-for. Writers who live with a disability or ill-health may not start out until they have found a way to write with their condition – which may take longer than this 40-years-old rule allows for.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 9, 1927 — Silent horror-comedy The Cat and the Canary turns 90 today.

(9) COMICS SECTION.

  • John King Tarpinian found one it takes a moment to figure out: The Argyle Sweater.
  • It’s Daredevil vs. Spider-man at Bliss.

(10) JUST PLAIN FOWL. The Guardian profiles actor Michael Keaton: “Michael Keaton: ‘There was a lot of bad taste in the 90s and I contributed to that’”.

He has made a career out of taking the unpredictable route: you can never guess his next role, and then he never plays it the way you’d expect. In his breakthrough movie, 1983’s Mr Mom, Keaton played a stay-at-home father at a time when such a concept was almost unheard of, and he played him as a man who has no idea how to do any of the stereotypically masculine jobs around the house; when asked if he’s rewiring the house with 220 volts, Keaton adlibbed, “220, 221, whatever it takes”. He was the dazzlingly frenetic lead in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, a largely improvised performance opposite fellow ghosts Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. With Burton again, he played Batman as a conflicted nerd, rather than a grinning muscle man. In Birdman, he plays an actor so neurotic, he ends up running through Manhattan in his underwear.

(11) PRATCHETT INSPIRES FAST FOOD AD. Arby’s is known for its roast beef, not its Morpork….

(12) HISTORY CORRECTED. Have researchers finally discovered Sweden’s real-life version of Lady Brienne of Tarth or Xena the Warrior Princess? “Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm”.

The grave, which Hedenstierna-Jonson describes as the world’s “ultimate warrior Viking grave”, was discovered and excavated by Swedish archeologist Hjalmar Stolpe at the end of the 19th century. Because of the “manly” warrior equipment found in the grave, it was just assumed – rather than proven – that the remains were that of a man.

But a few years ago, Anna Kjellström, an osteologist at the Stockholm University, brought out the remains to study them for another research project and noticed that something was amiss. The cheekbones were finer and thinner than that of a man, and the hip bones were typically feminine. An osteological analysis was carried out, lending even more support to her suspicion.

Now, however, a DNA-analysis has been carried out, clearly confirming that the Viking warrior was indeed a woman.

(13) WEEDING THE PLOT. Your cabal curator, Shaun Duke:

(14) PLUNGE RIGHT IN. Beware: John Scalzi is a language prescriptivist and a plumber.

(15) GRITE LITERATURE. Camestros Felapton has had a busy day, posting chapters from Timothy the Talking Cat’s work in progress, Chiseled McEdifice: Returns.

Just then a gunshot rang out and a bullet ricocheted off his space marine helmet (he was wearing his space marine helmet obviously – look at the cover image). The HUD display flickered on in his helmet (no that isn’t ‘redundant’ I can’t just say ‘his HUD flickered on’ as that sounds perverted to me). Targeting identified a heat source 501.67 metres away to the north east.

“Enhance,” McEdifice vocalised and in some sort of cool special effect way the helmet magnified that area of his vision (with maybe a hi-tech noise like boop-ooohwushboop). It was one of the Treerat gang!

The Treerat Gang: a bunch of outlaws and pagan worshippers of the ancient demonic squirrel god. They had a lasting hate for McEdifice ever since he drove them and their filthy ways out of town and killed their leader in a shoot-out.

“Oh dear!” said McEdifice as he once again made a futile attempt to apply the brakes! Just then the front wheel hit a particularly large pebble! The bike crashed and McEdifice was thrown clear!

KABOOM! The bicycle exploded in a fiery explosion as a consequence of it hitting a rock. McEdifice rushed over and beat back the flames and then with one mighty flick of his shoulders he hoisted up the flaming bike and threw it into a near by pond which I should have probably mentioned earlier.

(16) NO TRUCE IN THE CULTURE WARS. Sadly, Lawrence Person ended his Jerry Pournelle obituary with an irrelevant shot at “SJWs”.

He edited a number of anthologies over the years; when he finally received a Hugo nomination for that, Social Justice Warrior bloc voting made sure he finished below No Award.

Person didn’t think it was important to mention that Pournelle was slated onto the 2016 ballot by the Rabid Puppies, which was the direct cause of that outcome. Or that Pournelle was nominated for eight other Hugos and finished above No Award every time.

(17) MEAT. What are they selling in this video? It’ll come to you eventually. Includes L. Ron and an alien.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Darren Garrison, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]

Montreal’s “What the Fur?” Ends Its Run

What the Fur (WTF?), a Montreal furry con, held its final event over the last weekend of July. The reason given was lack of volunteers to pick up the reins.

That leaves Otakuthon as the city’s only non-commercial con.

A fan has started a GoFundMe to help Feli (Christopher Pilgrim) pay the bills. It has raised $455 of its $5,000 goal as of this writing. However, the slow response may be because Christopher Pilgrim made no such request in his farewell comments and, in fact, said he was proud that this year’s con had managed to give over $900 to charity.

[Thanks to Cathy Palmer-Lister for the story.]

2016 Ursa Major Awards

Image by EosFoxx

The 2016 Ursa Major Awards were announced on June 30 at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic works of the past calendar year, are presented by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA) in twelve categories, and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website, Ursa Major Awards website.

There were 1,446 votes this year, most from the U.S. but some from throughout the rest of the world. Below are listed the winners and nominees of the 2016 Ursa Major Awards.

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

Winner

  • Zootopia (Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush; February 11)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Finding Dory (Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane; June 17)
  • Sing (Directed by Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet; December 21)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni; January 29)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney; July 8)

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series

Winner

  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen, Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, and Denny Lu; Season 6 episodes 1 to 143 [TV])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • The Lion Guard (Directed by Howy Parkins; Season 1 episodes 1 to 22 [TV])
  • Bunnicula (Directed by Jessica Borutski, Maxwell Atoms, Robert F. Hughes, Matthew Whitlock, and Ian Wasseluk; Season 1 episodes 1 to 8 [TV])
  • Littlest Pet Shop (Directed by Joel Dickie, Steven Garcia, and Mike Myhre; Season 4 episode 10 to Season 4 episode 26 [TV])
  • Petals (Directed by Andrea Gallo and Alvaro Dominguez; November 29 [student film])

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

Winner

  • My Diary, by Fredrick Usiku Kruger, Lieutenant of the Rackenroon Hyena Brigade, by Kathy Garrison Kellog (The Cross Time Cafe; April 2)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Dog Country, by Malcolm F. Cross (Amazon Digital Services; March 28)
  • Fracture, by Hugo Jackson (Inspired Quill; September 1)
  • The Origin Chronicles: Mineau, by Justin Swatsworth (Dolphyn Visions; June 14)

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

Winner

  • 400 Rabbits, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • A Gentleman of Strength, by Dwale, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Questor’s Gambit, by Mary E. Lowd, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Marge the Barge, by Mary E. Lowd, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Sheeperfly’s Lullaby, by Mary E. Lowd, in GoAL #2 (Goal Publications; March 27)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

Winner

  • Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; June 30 [anthology])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books; January 24 [anthology])
  • ROAR volume 7, ed. by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30 [anthology])
  • The Muse, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March [background booklet for Lucid’s Dream])
  • Hot Dish #2, ed. by Dark End (Sofawolf Press; December 1 [anthology])

Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work

Winner

  • The Art of Zootopia, by Jessica Julius (Chronicle Books; March 8 [book; making of feature film])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Fursonas (Directed by Dominic Rodriguez; May 10 [documentary film])
  • 17 Misconceptions About Furries and the Furry Fandom (Culturally F’d #23; February 11 [podcast])
  • CSI: Fur Fest; The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention, by Jennifer Swann (VICE Media; February 10 [Internet])
  • Burned Furs and How You Perceive Porn (Culturally F’d: After Dark; October 6 [podcast])

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

Winner

  • TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (Internet; January 6 to December 25)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Swords and Sausages, by Jan (Internet; January 10 to December 25)
  • Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (Internet; Lackadaisy Sabbatical to Lackadaisy Headlong)
  • Lucid’s Dream, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March)
  • Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 1 to December 30)

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

Winner

  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 1 to December 30)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Savestate, by Tim Weeks (Internet; January 6 to December 28)
  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Kevin & Kell, by Bill Holbrook (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 1 to December 29)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

Winner

  • Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 4 to December 20)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Fur What It’s Worth (Podcast; Season 5 episode #8 to Season 6 episode #8)
  • InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • Flayrah, ed. by crossaffliction and GreenReaper (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
  • Fangs and Fonts (Podcast; episodes #57 to #72)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

Winner

  • Tracy J. Butler, cover of Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Teagan Gavet, cover of Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions, June 30)
  • Iskra, “Autumn”, FurAffinity, October 22
  • Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez, cover of Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books, January 24)
  • Dolphyn, “Hey Baby, You’re the Cat’s Meow!” in Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book

Best Anthropomorphic Game

Winner

  • Major \ Minor (Developer: Klace; Publisher: Steam; October 11)

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • Pokémon Sun & Moon (Developer: Game Freak; Publishers: Nintendo and the Pokémon Company; November 18)
  • Overwatch (Developer and Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment; May 24)
  • Stories: The Path of Destinies (Developer and Publisher: Spearhead Games; April 12)
  • Bear Simulator (Developer and Publisher: Farjay Studios; February 26)

Best Anthropomorphic Website

Winner

  • Fur Affinity (Internet [furry art & discussion])

Runners-Up (in descending number of votes)

  • E621 (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • WikiFur (Internet [furry wiki])
  • The Furry Writers’ Guild (Internet [FWG news & discussion])
  • Culturally F’d, ed. by Arrkay and Underbite (YouTube [furry history & sociology])

Next year’s presentation venue will be at the FurDU convention, May 4-6, 2018, in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia. In addition, the Ursa Major Awards are adding a thirteenth category beginning this year, for Best Anthropomorphic Fursuit, but with special rules. See the UMA website.