(1) TOLKIEN IN COMMUNITY. Books From Fangorn blogger Inia Gwath in “Oxonmoot 2020: A Review and a Fellowship” reports on attending the virtual conference.
Being a Tolkien fan for so long, and someone who has been studying his works, one of my desires was to participate in one of the most important Tolkien fandom (and scholars) events created and organized by the Tolkien Society based in the UK. As I live far away, in Chile, and travelling is not cheap, I always thought that I would have to wait until being a granny (almost) to attend the event. But this year, despite covid bring us tragedy around the world, it also brought some great things. The Oxomoot had to be online, and allowed many more Tolkien fans and scholars from around the world, like me, to attend. This was the first Oxonmoot online ever, and it is estimated that it will be the only one for the others are expected to combine physical activities with online ones. The Oxonmoot has existed since 1974, a year later J. R. R. Tolkien left this world to reunite with Edith.
…I truly hope that next year I will be able to join again. It was such a great time and a beautiful opportunity to share the love for J.R.R. Tolkien, whose works join so many people and have given us hope and strength in the most difficult times, reminding us that not all is lost as we might think it is. Tolkien’s works have created a fellowship who unites readers from all over the world.
(2) IT’S ALIVE! The FIYAHCON (October 16-18) schedule is live.
We’ve got panels from all over the world, a bunch of ceremonies, newly added workshops, even a GAME SHOW planned for your interactive viewing pleasure.
(3) INFINITE DIVERSITY EVOLVES. [Item by Olav Rokne.] At StarTrek.com, Carlos Miranda writes about the importance of diversity that reflects not only skin tone, but cultural signifiers. In a heartfelt article, “The Importance of Cristóbal Rios”, he praises Star Trek: Picard’s inclusion of not only a Latinx character, but one who speaks Spanish, and who is more nuanced than previous depictions.
I can’t quite describe the smile I had when we first heard Rios speak Spanish on camera — 9-year-old and 38-year-old me beamed enthusiastically. Rios curses (appropriately one might add) in Spanish, his ship is named La Sirena (Spanish for mermaid), one of his emergency holograms, Emmet, (the Emergency Tactical Hologram) also speaks and curses in Spanish, and he uses a classic Spanish nursery rhyme (one that most Spanish speakers would recognize, Arroz con Leche) to override La Sirena’s controls. This is a character whose cultural heritage and background is not simply window dressing, but in fact central to who they are as a person.
(4) FROM THE ORIGINAL POLISH. Rachel Cordasco has compiled “POLISH SFT: AN OVERVIEW” at SF in Translation.
Polish SFT is a wonderful mix of science fiction and surrealism, fantasy and horror, cyberpunk and fairy tale. Since the 1960s, when Stanis?aw Lem, Witold Gombrowicz, and Stefan Grabi?ski were first translated and introduced to Anglophone audiences; to the present day, when Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher universe is available in English across various media; Polish SFT has shown us the richly imaginative worlds explored by the language’s most creative writers. Here you’ll find nanobot swarms on alien planets, occult practices, timeless villages, professional space travelers, clones, elves, ghost trains, and much more. So enjoy this month of Polish SFT and tell us your favorite stories/novels/collections/anthologies in the comments!
(5) EISNER GRANTS AVAILABLE. Libraries are invited to apply for the 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries the American Library Association announced today.
The Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) of ALA and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation are pleased to announce the opening of the 2021 Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries grant cycle. These grants recognizes libraries for their role in the growth of graphic literature and awards funds and resources for graphic novel collection development and programming.
Through these grants the GNCRT and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation seek to continue to extend graphic novels into new realms by encouraging public awareness about the rise and importance of graphic literature and honoring the legacy and creative excellence of Will Eisner. For a career that spanned nearly eight decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics — Will Eisner is recognized as the “Champion of the Graphic Novel.”
Three grants will be awarded: two recipients will receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grants which provides support to libraries that would like to expand their existing graphic novel collection, services and programs; and one recipient will receive the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant which provides support to a library for the initiation of a new graphic novel service or program. Recipients each receive a $4,000 programming and collection development grant plus a collection of Will Eisner’s works and biographies as well as a selection of the winners of the 2021 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International. The grant also includes a travel stipend for a library representative to travel to the 2021 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, IL to receive recognition from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. An applying librarian or their institution must be an ALA Member to be eligible and the grants are now open to libraries across North America, including Canada and Mexico….
(6) GLUG GLUG. James Davis Nicoll bellies up to the bar for “Tales From the Science Fiction Barroom” at Tor.com.
…Recently I put out a request on social media for readers to suggest authors and works now obscure that deserve mention. To my surprise, someone suggested Arthur C. Clarke’s Tales from the White Hart.
…How on Earth could Tales from the White Hart be considered obscure? Well…for one thing, the author has been dead for over a decade. The collection is an astounding
ten twenty thirty forty fiftysixty-three years old, which is to say it’s as ancient to a new SF reader in 2020 as H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine was for the new SF reader in 1957, when Tales first came out.
Tales from the White Hart is also an example of a genre once popular that seems to have fallen into comparative obscurity: the barroom tale….
(7) GREENHOUSE EFFECT. The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda warns “When book storage is limited, people get desperate. Don’t make the mistakes I did.”
…As some readers may recall, in my first report on reducing my biblio-clutter I mentioned having stored some books in a disused greenhouse. By “some books” you should be picturing two or three thousand. Now keeping any part of a library in a glass building designed to be tropically warm and moist is unquestionably a terrible idea. But I was tired of paying for an expensive storage unit in Kensington and this particular greenhouse allowed air to circulate freely and, really, it would all be okay, wouldn’t it?
Sigh. What would we poor deluded humans do without magical thinking?
(8) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
Forty years ago, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Fountains of Paradise won the Hugo Award for Best Novel at Noreascon Two. (It would also win the Nebula.) It was simultaneously published the previous year by Gollancz and Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. It would beat out John Varley‘s Titan, Frederik Pohl‘s Jem, Patricia A. McKillip‘s Harpist in the Wind and Thomas M. Disch‘s On Wings of Song. A space elevator is also constructed in the course of Clarke’s final novel, The Last Theorem, which was co-written with Frederik Pohl.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
- Born October 1, 1914 – Donald A. Wollheim. One man deserves the credit, one man deserves the blame, and Donald Allen Wollheim, yes, Don Wollheim is his name! Hey! As Tom Lehrer said explaining the song I allude to, this is not intended as a slur on DAW’s character, but only given for prosodic reasons. DAW, earning praise and otherwise, even in the incident for which he was most blamed also did good. As a fan he among much else was a founder of FAPA and the Futurians, editor of The Phantagraph. As a pro he edited The Pocket Book of SF, first mass-marketed SF anthology; he was editor at Avon and Ace, eventually his own DAW Books, with a creditable yearly World’s Best SF 1971-1990. In publishing an unauthorized U.S. ed’n of The Lord of the Rings, which brought on an authorized one among much else, he has been called responsible for the fantasy boom. First Fandom Hall of Fame. Forry, Gallun, Solstice Awards. Pro Guest of Honor at Nolacon II the 46th Worldcon. I’ve always liked The Secret of the Martian Moons. (Died 1990) [JH]
- Born October 1, 1922 – Terry Jeeves. Four short stories, including one in Tomorrow; famed mainly as a fan. Founding member of British SF Ass’n, two years editor of Vector. Three-part Checklist of “Astounding” for 1930-1959. Essays, letters, reviews, in Analog, Asimov’s, Banana Wings, Hyphen, Matrix, SF Commentary, Zenith. His own fanzine Erg. First Fandom Hall of Fame. Fine fanartist; Rotsler Award; see here. (Died 2011) [JH]
- Born October 1, 1929 – Martha Beck. Hospitable mainstay and often hostess of All-Night Fandom. Active in the N3F (Nat’l Fantasy Fan Fed’n). Fan Guest of Honor at ChambanaCon 4, Genuine ConFusion, Archon 12, Windycon XVII. First Fandom Hall of Fame, as Associate Member. (Died 2002) [JH]
- Born October 1, 1935 — Dame Julie Andrews, DBE, 85. The original Mary Poppins! I could stop there but I won’t. (Hee.) She had a scene cut in which she was a maid in The Return of the Pink Panther, and she’s uncredited as the singing voice of Ainsley Jarvis in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Yet again she’s uncredited as in a Panther film, this time as chairwoman in Trail of the Pink Panther. (Andrews was married to Pink Panther producer Blake Edwards [d. 2010] which may explain the pattern.) She voices Queen Lillian in Shrek 2, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After. And she’s the voice of Karathen in Aquaman. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1944 – Rick Katze, F.N., 76. (I’d tell you his name rhymes with Harry Bates, but have you read “Farewell to the Master”?) Diligent fan made a Fellow of NESFA (New England SF Ass’n; service award) decades ago. Discharged various thankless duties. Chaired three Boskones – oh, you say that’s no contradiction? Edited NESFA Press books including The Best of Poul Anderson. A remark to me at Torcon 3 the 61st Worldcon was a model of discretion. [JH]
- Born October 1, 1948 – Mike Ashley, 72. Co-editor of Fusion and Xeron, emerging as anthologist. History of the SF Magazine, originally with reprints, revised without them in four volumes 2000-2016 (through 1990). Thirty volumes so far in The Mammoth Book of — ; a dozen are SF. Half a dozen books on the Matter of Arthur. Several dozen others, some ours, recently Lost Mars (2018; “from the Golden Age of the Red Planet”; Univ. Chicago Press). Pilgrim Award. [JH]
- Born October 1, 1953 — John Ridley, 67. Author of Those Who Walk in Darkness and What Fire Cannot Burn novels. Both excellent though high on the violence cringe scale. Writer on the Static Shock and Justice League series. Writer, The Authority : human on the inside graphic novel. And apparently there was the writer for Team Knight Rider, a female version of Knight Rider that lasted but one season in the Nineties. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1960 — Elizabeth Dennehy, 60. She played Lt. Commander Shelby in “The Best of Both Worlds,” a two-part story on Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was her second genre role as she was Renata in Recall the previous year. She also showed up on Quantum Leap, Gattaca, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies, Generation X, a spin-off of the X-Men franchise, Supernova and The Last Man on Planet Earth. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1967 — Celine Kiernan, 53. She’s best known for her Moorehawke trilogy set in an alternate renaissance Europe, and she has written two books so far in her Wild Magic trilogy. She reads the first three chapters of her latest novel, Resonance, over at her blog. Being a gothic fiction, I’d say it’s appropriate for this time of year. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1973 — Rachel Manija Brown, 47. Co-writer of the Change series with Sherwood Smith; Laura’s Wolf, first volume of the Werewolf Marines series. She wrote an essay entitled “The Golden Age of Fantasy Is Twelve: SF and the Young Adult Novel” which was published in Strange Horizons. The first two Change novels are available at the usual digital suspects. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1976 – Angela Woolfe, 44. Seven novels. Also writes for The Guardian and Vogue. Knowing that in SF we can assume little about what we are to expect, she calls a title-role woman scientist Avril Crump whom we are thus not startled to see bald, pink, round, bumbling, lovable. Uses two other names, one for legendary movie stars appearing on a magical sofa with advice to the lovelorn. [JH]
- Born October 1, 1979 — Holly Elissa, 41. A Canadian artist, actress, filmmaker and activist who, given that a lot of genre video is produced in Canada, not surprisingly shows up in one-offs on Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Voyage of the Unicorn, Battlestar Galactica, Kyle X/Y, Eureka, Supernatural, Fringe, Flash Gordon, Colony, Van Helsing and Arrow. (CE)
- Born October 1, 1989 — Brie Larson, 31. Captain Marvel in the Marvel film universe including of course the most excellent Captain Marvel film. She’s also been in Kong: Skull Island as Mason Weaver, and plays Kit in the Unicorn Store which she also directed and produced. Her first genre role was Rachael in the “Into the Fire” of the Touched by an Angel series; she also appeared as Krista Eisenburg in the “Slam” episode of Ghost Whisperer. I just wrote up a review of her Funko Rock Candy figure at Green Man Review. CE)
(10) COMICS SECTION.
- The Far Side has nothing to Hyde.
- The Argyle Sweater shows the reason for Dorothy Gale’s familiar line.
(11) SAY IT THIS WAY. [Item by rcade.] Podcast producer Jay Hamm writes on Twitter, “COMICS FANS, you’ve been pronouncing creators’ names wrong for far too long. I can’t take it anymore. Here’s a thread to put you right.”
Read the link to learn that Jeff Lemire rhymes with “fear” not “fire”, Mark Millar rhymes with “brr” not “bar”, Chip Zdarsky is “anything goes” and mysterious things are afoot in the name of Frank Quietly.
There ought to be one of these for SF/F.
(12) I DUB THEE. The next group of space bound astronauts named SpaceX’s newest spaceship ‘Resilience’ ahead of a major launch — they didn’t break a bottle of champagne over the prow, however.
…Four astronauts — NASA’s Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi — are set to climb aboard SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on October 31, roar into space aboard a Falcon 9 rocket, then spend a six months aboard the International Space Station.
Their mission, called Crew-1, will be the first of six round-trip flights that NASA has contracted from SpaceX.
The company tested its human spaceflight capabilities this summer, when it launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on a test flight called Demo-2. That marked the first time humans had flown aboard a commercial spacecraft, and the first time the US had launched its own astronauts since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Behnken and Hurley named that capsule “Endeavour” after they launched. Now, following that longstanding tradition of naming spacecraft, the astronauts on the upcoming mission gave their new spaceship the name “Resilience” on Tuesday.
(13) SOMETHING BORROWED. [Item by Bill.] The Scroll recently linked to “Loose Ends”, a story made up from the last lines of SFF books. I just today ran across Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen, a feature length film made of clips from 400+ romantic films — but it includes a number of genre films. The very first scene, for example, is from Avatar.
(14) OCTOBER THE FIRST IS ON TIME. Andrew Liptak has posted his monthly list of anticipated sff books.
If there’s any bright spot, it’s that October is an excellent month for new book releases — there are a lot of heavy hitters from the likes of Kim Stanley Robinson, Alix E. Harrow, V.E. Schwab, Rebecca Roanhorse, and many others. I’ve rounded up 24 of them that you should check out.
(15) BY GRABTHAR’S HAMMER… WHAT A SAVINGS. “Potty training: NASA tests new $23M titanium space toilet” — Yahoo! News says it will soon be on its way to the ISS.
NASA’s first new space potty in decades — a $23 million titanium toilet better suited for women — is getting a not-so-dry run at the International Space Station before eventually flying to the moon.
It’s packed inside a cargo ship set to blast off late Thursday from Wallops Island, Virginia.
Barely 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and just 28 inches (71 centimeters) tall, it’s roughly half as big as the two Russian-built toilets at the space station. It’s more camper-size to fit into the NASA Orion capsules that will carry astronauts to the moon in a few years.
Station residents will test it out for a few months. If the shakedown goes well, the toilet will be open for regular business.
(16) SPAGHETTI ICE CREAM. Not really genre, just sounds weird.
You don’t need a fork to eat this plate of spaghetti. Just a spoon will do. And that’s because it’s not actually spaghetti. It’s Spaghettieis—vanilla ice cream noodles topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings. Dario Fontanella, the inventor of spaghetti ice cream, invites us into his dessert shop in Mannheim, Germany to sample this ice cold treat. Did we mention it’s served on a bed of whipped cream?
(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. Think of ST:TNG reimagined as Data, “A wholesome 90s sitcom revolving around the beloved android crewmember of the starship Enterprise-D.”
[Thanks to Sultana Raza, Chris M. Barkley, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, rcade, Bill, Jeffrey Smith, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Michael Toman, John Hertz, Cat Eldridge, Olav Rokne, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credt goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]