(1) PRESENT AT THE CREATION. Craig Miller distributed flyers for his forthcoming Star Wars memoir at San Diego Comic-Con. The four-page fold-over can be seen at his Facebook page. Here’s the placeholder cover:
(2) HOYT ON THE BUBBLE? A call to delete Wikipedia’s entry for Sarah A. Hoyt is also under consideration: “Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Sarah Hoyt”. Some of the supporting arguments are:
- Of eleven sources on the page, all but one source back to either Archive.org remnants of her old personal website or to her husband’s website.
- The final source on the page is a podcast.
- Some of the content appears plagiarized from other websites or promotional materials from the publisher such as book jacket author bio text. The text of the Writing section appears copied verbatim from fan site https://www.risingshadow.net/library/author/567-sarah-a-hoyt.
(3) LAUGHTER ON THE RIGHT. Meanwhile, today’s post at According To Hoyt comes from guest blogger Frank J. Fleming who offers “Frank Tips for Writing Satire”.
…Just make sure you’re making fun of someone your audience doesn’t like, because if you make fun of someone they do like, that’s what you call “bad satire.” And then you’re going to get mobbed and probably doxxed. A good strategy for that is to own multiple houses.
Ha, you idiots; I wasn’t even at that house you doxxed! That was a burner home!
(4) THE ROCKET RETURNS. The Mysterious Bookshop is offering a new edition of Anthony Boucher’s legendary 1942 novel Rocket to the Morgue, which features characters based on his science fiction writing contemporaries. New introduction by F. Paul Wilson.
Legendary science fiction author Fowler Faulkes may be dead, but his creation, the iconic Dr. Derringer, lives on in popular culture. Or, at least, the character would live on if not for Faulkes’s predatory and greedy heir Hilary, who, during his time as the inflexible guardian of the estate, has created countless enemies in the relatively small community of writers of the genre. So when he is stabbed nearly to death in a room with only one door, which nobody was seen entering or exiting, Foulkes suspects a writer. Fearing that the assailant will return, he asks for police protection, and when more potentially-fatal encounters follow, it becomes clear to Detective Terry Marshall and his assistant, the inquisitive nun, Sister Ursula, that death awaits Mr. Foulkes around every corner. Now, they’ll have to work overtime to thwart the would-be murderer?a task that requires a deep dive into the strange, idiosyncratic world of science fiction in its early days.
With characters based heavily on Anthony Boucher’s friends at the Manana Literary Society, including Robert Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and Jack Parsons, Rocket to the Morgue is both a classic locked room mystery and an enduring portrait of a real-life writing community. Reprinted for the first time in over thirty years, the book is a must-read for fans of mysteries and science fiction alike.
(5) ALIEN ARRIVAL. “Nnedi Okorafor Tells an Immigrant Story in ‘LaGuardia,’ the Most Subversive Graphic Novel at Comic-Con” — The Daily Beast has a Q&A with the author.
“Issues of immigration, issues of identity, all these things, they’re not new, and they’ve been there for a long time,” she says.
Okorafor talks and writes from experience. The graphic novel introduces Future through an extended scene at LaGuardia, where she queues up for screening along with aliens of all shapes and sizes, as well as a little white girl who yanks on her locks. At the checkpoint, she is pulled aside for a second screening by a security guard who asks invasive questions about whether the baby in her belly is human. The confrontation is ripped straight from an incident in 2009, when a TSA officer at LaGuardia took Okorafor to a private room to squeeze each of her four-and-a-half-foot locks for hidden contraband. Preoccupied with her hair, the officer missed the bottle of pepper spray that Okorafor had forgotten to remove from her bag. In LaGuardia, that misdirection allows the character to carry the alien through, undetected.
As an author, Okorafor travels a lot, and it’s become clear to her that airport and border crossings are more about control than safety.
“It’s the space between, a place of contention, a place of displacement, a place of fear, a place of identity,” she says. “It’s where you become very aware of all the things that you are and what they mean, in the context of where you are. And depending on who you are, that place can feel very hot or it can feel very chill.”
(6) SPEAKING UP. Terry Brooks breaks his silence on Trump.
As you know, I do not use my connection to you on the web page or Facebook/Twitter to move outside the subjects of books, reading and writing. I am going to break that rule now.
For three years, I have kept quiet about Donald Trump and his effort to be President of the U.S. I am not a political activist. I am a writer of fantasy adventure books, and while I have opinions about politics and people involved in politics, I pretty much keep them to myself. My writing speaks for me. My writing is my voice to the larger world. But a few weeks back I listened to a young journalist speak about the importance of standing up for what you believe if you love your country. He said that if you had a platform, you had an obligation to use it. He said if you have a voice, you needed to use it. He said, finally, that writers need to write about what matters – in some form, in some way, at some time…
Brooks speaks out at length.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
- Born July 23, 1888 — Raymond Chandler. He of the hard boiled detective genre is listed by ISFDB as doing some stories of a genre nature, to be exact ”The Bronze Door”, “The King In Yellow”, “Professor Bingo’s Snuff” and “English Summer: A Gothic Romance”. I’ve neither heard it nor read these. So who here has? “The King In Yellow” is in the Raymond Chandler megapack I just downloaded from iBooks so I will read it soon. (Died 1959.)
- Born July 23, 1910 — Kendell Foster Crossen. He was the creator and writer of stories in the Forties about the Green Lama and the Milo March detective and spy novels. Though the latter is not genre, the former is as the Green Lama had supernatural powers. In the Fifties he began writing SF for Thrilling Wonder Stories, including the Manning Draco stories about an intergalactic insurance investigator, four of which are collected in Once Upon a Star: A Novel of the Future. None of his SF is on iBooks or Kindle alas. (Died 1981.)
- Born July 23, 1914 — Virgil Finlay. Castle of Frankenstein calls him “part of the pulp magazine history … one of the foremost contributors of original and imaginative art work for the most memorable science fiction and fantasy publications of our time.” His best-known covers are for Amazing Stories and Weird Tales. “Roads,” a novella by Seabury Quinn, published in the January 1938 Weird Tales, and featuring a cover and interior illustrations by him, was originally published in a extremely limited numbers by Arkham House in 1948. It’s now available on iBooks though not Kindle. (Died 1971.)
- Born July 23, 1923 — Cyril M. Kornbluth. I certainly read and liked The Space Merchants and The Syndic which are the two I remember reading these years on. Given his very early death, he wrote an impressive amount of fiction, particularly short fiction. Wildside Press has all of his fiction available on iBooks and Kindle in a single publication. (Died 1958.)
- Born July 23, 1947 — Gardner Dozois. He was the founding editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies (and was editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction for twenty years, getting multiple Hugo and Locus Awards for those works. His writing won the Nebula Award for best short story twice, once for “The Peacemaker”, and again for “Morning Child”. Being Gardner Dozois: An Interview by Michael Swanwick covers everything he wrote to that date. (Died 2018.)
- Born July 23, 1956 — Kate Thompson, 63. Author of the New Policeman trilogy which I highly recommend. Though written for children, you’ll find it quite readable. And her Down Among the Gods is a unique take on a Greek myths made intimate.
- Born July 23, 1970 — Charisma Carpenter, 49. She’s best remembered as Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. She was also Kyra on Charmed and Kendall Casablancas on Veronica Mars. She was Sydney Hart in Mail Order Monster and Beth Sullivan in the direct to video Josh Kirby… Time Warrior! Franchise.
- Born July 23, 1982 — Tom Mison, 37. Ichabod Crane, the lead on Sleepy Hollow. Ok did anyone here actually watch it? I had the best of intentions but never caught it. The only time I saw him was he showed up on Bones in a cross-over episode. He’s The Mime in the forthcoming Watchmen series
- Born July 23, 1989 — Daniel Radcliffe, 30. Harry Potter of course. (Loved the films, didn’t read the novels.) Also, Victor Frankenstein’s assistant Igor in Victor Frankenstein, Ignatius Perrish in Horns, a horror film, and Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Old Vic in London.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
- The Argyle Sweater has a novel idea – at least, Rich Horton says, “I’d read the novel in which the Salem witches did this!”
(9) COVER ARTIST. SYFY Wire says the Cats movie trailer is Taylor-made for this: “The Cats trailer gets a jellicle upgrade when set to RuPaul’s Kitty Girl”.
(10) GOBLIN UP PUBLICITY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Futurism: “Inventor Set to Fly Across the English Channel on His Hoverboard”.
Exactly 110 years ago this Thursday, French inventor Louis Blériot became the first person to fly an airplane across the English Channel, the body of water separating the United Kingdom and France.
To honor the achievement, another French inventor plans to make his own cross-Channel trip this week — but he’ll attempt to do so while riding a flying hoverboard that looks strangely similar to the one used by Spider-Man villain the Green Goblin.
The trip will require a mid-Channel refueling, though inventor Franky Zapata is said to be considering doing this while hovering above a ship rather than landing on one so he can claim a non-stop flight. In an interview with The Guardian, Zapata (who recently overflew this year’s Bastille Day parade) laid out his plans to make the attempt to cross from Calais to Dover. Contrasting the Bastille Day flight to the Channel crossing, he is quoted as saying, “I used 3% of the machine’s capabilities [on Bastille Day] and I’ll need 99% for the Channel. It won’t be easy at all and I reckon I’ve a 30% chance of succeeding.”
Things I have in common with my biological half-brother Rick that I don’t share with my adopted family:
Candy. We stopped by the store and I grabbed an Almond Joy, because I like to keep an emergency snack around my hotel room in case of sudden hunger. Apparently this is also Rick’s preferred candy bar.
Tattoos. My adopted family did not approve of them. Everyone in my biological family has them; I personally have six. At one point Rick and I were cruising around Hollywood looking for a tattoo parlor to give us matching brother-sister ink, but we couldn’t find anybody good so abandoned that idea for now.
Fearlessness. I flew down on one of those small commuter jets, and Katrina asked if it was scary, and I didn’t know what to say. I have a twisted scariness threshold and so does Rick. We both enjoy terrifying experiences like horror films and we both confessed we’d love to see a ghost or monster or alien or sasquatch or chupacabra or other similar frightening thing. He’s more outdoorsy and used to do crazy things involving motorcycles and championship fights. I’m the inside type and get my kicks from litigation deadlines and murdering my fellow video game players (and writing action-adventure stories, that too). We are a clan of warriors and although we occasionally ripple with anxiety, we also tend to have rock steady nerves….
(12) BUT FRESH IS BEST. Science says “Canned laughter ‘makes jokes funnier'”.
Adding canned laughter to the punchline of jokes – even “dad jokes” – makes them funnier, according to a study.
The effect was even bigger if real, spontaneous giggles accompanied a gag, the University College London scientists said.
They tried out 40 different jokes, ranging from the groan-worthy to the hilarious, on 72 volunteers.
The findings, in Current Biology, suggest laughter might be contagious or give others permission to also laugh.
Jokes from the study included:
…Why can’t you give Elsa a balloon? Because she will “Let It Go”.
(13) DEVELOPING ARTEMIS. “Nasa Moon lander vision takes shape” – BBC has the story.
Nasa has outlined more details of its plans for a landing craft that will take humans to the lunar surface.
The plans call for an initial version of the lander to be built for landing on the Moon by 2024; it would then be followed by an enhanced version.
The news comes as work was completed on the Orion spacecraft that will fly around the Moon in 2021.
This mission, called Artemis-1, will pave the way for the first attempt to land since 1972.
The presolicitation notice to industry calls for proposals on an initial lander design capable of carrying two people down to the Moon’s South Pole in 2024.
Companies will then be given the option to develop an enhanced lander capable of carrying four astronauts to the lunar surface. It would also be able to stay for longer, including through the two-week lunar night.
This lander would support Nasa’s plans for a “sustainable” return to the Moon that would eventually involve the construction of an outpost on the surface.
(14) WITHDRAWING THE DEPOSITS. BBC reports “‘Important’ Iron Age settlement found at Warboys dig”.
Iron Age roundhouses, Roman burials and Saxon pottery have been discovered in a “hugely important and hitherto unknown settlement”.
The seven month-long dig in Warboys in Cambridgeshire also uncovered “a rare example” of “early Saxon occupation mingled with the latest Roman remains”.
Archaeologist Stephen Macaulay said: “We almost never find actual physical evidence of this.”
The settlement reverted to agricultural use after the 7th Century.
(15) SUPERMAN’S BREAKFAST. Here’s a 3-minute video with “uncut footage of George Reeves directing test of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes commercial at his home”
(16) MORE SPIES. It’s not our Tor — “Russian intelligence ‘targets Tor anonymous browser'”.
Hackers who breached a Russian intelligence contractor found that it had been trying to crack the Tor browser and been working on other secret projects, the BBC has learned.
Tor is an anonymous web browser, used by those wishing to access the dark web and avoid government surveillance.
It is very popular in Russia.
The hackers stole some 7.5 terabytes of data from SyTech, a contractor for Russia’s Federal Security Service FSB, and included details of its projects.
It is not clear how successful the attempt to crack the anonymous browser was, as the method relied heavily on luck to match Tor users to their activity.
Hackers from a group known as 0v1ru$ gained access to the company on 13 July, and replaced its internet homepage with a smug smiley face often used by internet trolls.
(17) HISTORIC AIRCRAFT. The Space Review remembers “The big white bird: the flights of Helo 66”.
…On the Midway’s deck sits a white Sea King helicopter painted with the famous 66 squadron number and painted on the nose of the helicopter are the silhouettes of five Apollo capsules. But walk around to the other side of the helicopter and you’ll see the number “68” painted on the other side.
If you head about 800 kilometers to the northwest, to Pier Three at the former Alameda Naval Air Station and go aboard the USS Hornet Museum, on her aft flight deck you will see another Sea King, also painted with a large “66” on the side of her fuselage. The Sea King on display on the Hornet was used in the movie Apollo 13, which is why it retains its markings from the helicopter carrier Iwo Jima, which was the recovery ship for that mission. The helicopter was obtained from the Navy and restored off-site before being hoisted aboard the Hornet. The museum has several other helicopters that are painted like the recovery aircraft for the American space program, including a Piesecki HUP-25 Retriever of the type used to ferry John Glenn from the USS Noa to the carrier USS Randolph following his Friendship 7 orbital flight in 1962, and a UH-34 Seahorse of the type used for the Gemini and Apollo recoveries.
The real Helo 66, the one in the Apollo 11 documentary and all of those famous Apollo era photographs, crashed into the ocean off the coast of San Diego in 1975. That helicopter, BuNo 152711, was lost in a tragic accident during training to hunt Soviet submarines.
(18) A LITTLE MISTAKE. I have Irish ancestors – can you tell? “Irish moon landing stamp spells ‘moon’ wrong” reports the BBC.
The Republic of Ireland’s postal service has apologised for spelling “the moon” wrong in Irish on its new commemorative stamps celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo landing.
The postal service, known as An Post, launched the stamps last week.
Four astronauts are featured on the stamps with Irish ancestry.
The Irish word for moon is “gealach”. But the stamp accidently spelled it “gaelach”, which means being Gaelic, Irish or relating to the Scottish Highlands.
Instead of reading “The 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing”, it now reads “50th Anniversary of the First Landing on the Irish”.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, rcade, Mike Kennedy, Rich Horton, Carl Slaughter, Contrarius, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]