The shortlists for the 2020 Aurealis Awards were announced March 31 by the Continuum Foundation (ConFound). The award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
The panelists considered nearly 850 entries across the 15 categories to determine the finalists.
BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION
The Lost Soul Atlas, Zana Fraillon (Hachette Australia)
Tricky Nick, Nicholas J Johnson (Pan Australia)
Across the Risen Sea, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
The Chicken’s Curse, Frances Watts (Allen & Unwin)
Hodgepodge: How to Make a Pet Monster, Lili Wilkinson, illustrated by Dustin Spence (Allen & Unwin)
Her Perilous Mansion, Sean Williams (Allen & Unwin)
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK
Action Tank: Book 2, Mike Barry (Mike Barry Was Here)
Under-Earth, Chris Gooch (Top Shelf)
The Grot, Pat Grant (Top Shelf / IDW)
The Odds, Matt Stanton (ABC Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
“Dingo & Sister”, Nikky Lee (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #78)
“Ram’s Revenge”, Nikky Lee (Aries, Deadset Press)
“Pea Soup”, Juliet Marillier (Mother Thorn and Other Tales of Courage and Kindness, Serenity Press)
“The Witching Well”, Juliet Marillier (Mother Thorn and Other Tales of Courage and Kindness, Serenity Press)
If you are interested in being a juror for this year’s awards, please register your interest here We are especially interested in hearing from those historically under represented on juries; and you do not need to be a member of the BFS to fulfil this role.
Both forms will remain open until Wednesday 16th August. Any questions, please get in touch at email@example.com
A few days ago they were concerned about the balance of applicants:
We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2020 Aurealis Awards. Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).
(2) ULTIMA RATIO REGUM. Camestros Felapton continues to work out what canon means to sff readers, and if it’s useful in “Types of canon/key texts”.
… I think within discussions of canon there is a sense of books whose role it is to edify the reader, the books that will make you (somehow) a better reader. I’m sceptical that any books really fit that criteria and even more sceptical that we can find a common set of such books. However, there are clearly books that themselves provoke further books and as such books that get referenced in later works and later works that can be seen as response to earlier works. Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers being an obvious example of such a work. This is canon as a kind of feedback loop of significance — the books that are themselves critiques of Troopers lend significance to Troopers as a book. You don’t have to have read Starship Troopers to enjoy Kameron Hurley’s Light Brigade but having some familiarity with Heinlein’s book adds an element to Hurley’s book.
Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles is considered a film classic, even though it’s stirred up some controversy over the years. Now the film is being retold in an entirely new medium, as well as an entirely new genre.
The Los Angeles film company Align is helping develop an animated film titled Blazing Samurai. The film takes the basic premise of Blazing Saddles and transplants it to the Samurai era. The story follows a dog named Hank who dreams of becoming a Samurai. When he becomes in charge of protecting Kakamucho, he learns that the town is populated entirely by cats.
Three years ago, I reported on the state of television in the wake of former FCC-chief Newton Minow’s pronouncement that television was a ‘vast wastelend.’ Since then, I have remained a devoted fan of the small screen, if not completely addicted to ‘the boob tube.’ Indeed, the Young Traveler and I have our weekly favorites we do not miss if we can at all help it.
And so, as we sail through the sea of summer reruns, gleefully anticipating the Fall line-up, I take delight in awarding the Galactic Stars of Television for the 1964-65 season.
Burke’s Law 1963-65
Amos Burke is what would have happened if Bruce Wayne’s parents had never been shot – he’s a Beverly Hills playboy millionaire who also happens to be the dapper Captain of Homicide for the L.A. Police Department. In each episode, Amos, with the aide of grizzled Sergeant Hart and youthful Detective Tilson (and occasionally the doe-eyed Sergeant Ames), solves a murder mystery…..
If The Traveler hadn’t waxed rhapsodically about this show – and I’m not sure whether he thinks it fits the blog’s sff theme or just thinks it’s good – then it wouldn’t have seemed such a glaring oversight to end the post pointing out Harlan Ellison wrote a script for the lamentable Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, without mentioning Ellison also wrote four scripts for 1964 episodes of his beloved Burke’s Law series.
I realised this morning that it’s 36 years to the day when I started to work in publishing, as an editorial secretary at George Allen & Unwin Publishers, in Ruskin House on Museum Street. What follows really is the trajectory of modern publishing in microcosm.
My skillset was not ideal: I loved books, especially the works of JRR Tolkien and came with a first class English degree, a Masters in Scandinavian Studies (Old Icelandic) and absolutely no secretarial abilities at all. But I had worked for a year at Foyles and another as a boardmarker/cashier at Ladbrokes, and so had proved I could work hard and not be snooty about getting my hands dirty; and that I was numerate and understood the concept of gambling, which my new boss assured me was the essence of publishing. These were the times of Telex machines and manual typewriters, which were just giving way to electronic typewriters (my nightmare) but David was remarkably patient with my Tippexed letters, blackened carbon copies and non-existent shorthand, and within a year had promoted me away from my disaster zone to become an editor. Paperbacks were a fairly new concept: hardbacks were the prestige edition.
(6) IMPROVEMENT NOT NEEDED. In a post on Facebook, David Gerrold tells how a book is being unfairly belittled.
There is currently a backlash against The Giving Tree, and some people are circulating an alternate ending.
Hey! I have an idea. I have an alternate ending for Winnie The Pooh. Pooh is a bear. He decides he likes bacon. He eats Piglet. Much more realistic, right?
No, look. Shel Silverstein knew what he was doing when he wrote The Giving Tree.
It doesn’t need an alternate ending — specifically not one that’s preachy, badly written, doesn’t really fit, and is intended to cast the original in a bad light….
Depending upon how it’s done, it can add to the tension—a race against time as our characters try to return to their own era—or it can allow readers to explore the past through modern eyes. In my own In Time mystery series, I’ve enjoyed the fish-out-of-water sensation that my main character—a modern-day woman and brilliant FBI agent—experiences after being tossed back to the Regency period in England. As women then were second-class citizens without the ability to even vote, not only does she have to deal with personal obstacles, but she also cannot tap into her usual arsenal of forensic tools to solve crimes.
Whether time travel is being used to wrap a mystery in an extra, innovative layer or is allowing readers to view humanity and history through a different lens, the theme is brilliantly done in the books that I’ve listed below….
Frances Allen, a computer scientist and researcher who helped create the fundamental ideas that allow practically anyone to build fast, efficient and useful software for computers, smartphones and websites, died on Tuesday, her 88th birthday, in Schenectady, N.Y.
Her death, in a nursing home, was confirmed by her great-nephew Ryan McKee, who said the cause was Alzheimer’s disease.
In the mid-1960s, after developing software for an early supercomputer at the National Security Agency, Ms. Allen returned to her work at IBM, then the world’s leading computer company. At an IBM lab in the Hudson River Valley town of Yorktown Heights, just north of New York City, she and her fellow researchers spent the next four decades refining a key component of modern computing: the “compiler,” the software technology that takes in programs written by humans and turns them into something computers can understand.
For Ms. Allen, the aim was to do this as efficiently as possible, so programmers could build software in simple and intuitive ways and then have it run quickly and smoothly when deployed on real-world machines.
Together with the researcher John Cocke, she published a series of landmark papers in the late 1960s and ’70s describing this delicate balance between ease of creation and speed of execution. These ideas helped drive the evolution of computer programming — all the way to the present day, when even relative novices can easily build fast and efficient software apps for a world of computers, smartphones and other devices.
In 2006, on the strength of this work, Ms. Allen became the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award, often called the Nobel Prize of computing.
(9) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
August 8, 1956 — X Minus One aired “The Last Martian.” This is the story of a reporter seeing if a man’s claim that he is a Martian placed in a human’s body. George Lefferts was the scriptwriter who adapted the story from the Fredric Brown’s “The Last Martian” short story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction in October 1950. Mandel Kramer, Elliot Reed, Santos Ortega, Ralph Bell, John McGovern, and Patricia Weil were in the radio cast. You can listen to it here.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born August 8, 1883 – Paul Stahr, Jr. Forty covers for Argosy 1925-1934. Also Collier’s, Judge, Life, People’s Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post; book covers, posters. Here is the 10 Jan 31 Argosy. Here is the 25 Aug 34. Here is The Ship of Ishtar. Here is a World War I poster. (Died 1953) [JH]
Born August 8, 1919 — Dino De Laurentiis. Maker of Dune obviously but less obviously also a lot of other genre including Conan the Barbarian, Flash Gordon, King Kong, Halloween II and Halloween III, Dead Zone and The Last Legion. (Died 2010.) (CE)
Born August 8, 1930 — Terry Nation. Best-known as scriptwriter for Doctor Who and creator of the Daleks. He later created Blake’s 7. He would also write scripts for The Avengers,The Champions andMacGyver. (Died 1997.) (CE)
Born August 8, 1935 — Donald P. Bellisario, 85. Genre shows include Tales of the Gold Monkey, Airwolf and of course, that truly amazing show Quantum Leap. Ok, is Tales of the Gold Monkey genre? Well if not SF or fantasy, it’s certainly pulp in the best sense of that term. (CE)
Born August 8, 1937 — Dustin Hoffman, 83. Ahhh, Captian Hook, the man who got swallowed by the vast crocodile in Hook. Yeah, I like that film a lot. By no means his only genre appearance as he was Mumbles, Caprice’s fast-talking henchman in Dick Tracy (not a film I love), Mr. Edward Magorium in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium and the voice of Master Shifu in Kung Fu Panda. (CE)
Born August 8, 1950 – John D. Berry, 70. Of New York (Fanoclasts), later Seattle. “The Club House” 1969-1972 (fanzine reviews) for Amazing. Pacific Northwest Review of Books (with Loren MacGregor). Fan Guest of Honor, Norwescon 1, VCON 13, Westercon 63. DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) delegate. Designed the souvenir book for 15th World Fantasy Con. I daren’t say a font of knowledge but indeed he is good with them. [JH]
Born August 8, 1958 – David Egge, 62. Thirty book and magazine covers, three dozen interiors. Here is The End of Summer. Here is The Dorsai Pacifist (in German). Here is a 1986 cover for The Mote in God’s Eye (in fact Moties don’t have faces, a non-trivial point, but see this anyway). Here is the Apr 01 Analog. [JH]
Born August 8, 1961 – Tim Szczesuil, F.N., 59. Chaired Boskones 33, 53. Five terms as NESFA (New England SF Ass’n) President, four as Treasurer; various committees. Contributed to APA:NESFA. For NESFA Press, edited His Share of Glory (C.M. Kornbluth), Strange Days (Gardner Dozois; with Ann Broomhead). Fellow of NESFA (service award). [JH]
Born August 8, 1971 – Phlippa Ballantine, 49. First New Zealand author to podcast her novel (Weaver’s Web, 2006; three more; PB since moved to Virginia). Three novels about the Order, five (with husband Tee Morris) about the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences (Phoenix Rising was a top-10 SF book of the year on Goodreads, sequel The Janus Affair a Locus best-seller and Steampunk Chronicle readers’ choice for fiction), two about the Shifted World; a score of shorter stories. Website here. [JH]
Born August 8, 1988 – Flavia Bujor, 32. Children’s novel The Prophecy of the Stones (or “Gems”), written at age 13, translated into 23 languages. A second is rumored. [JH]
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Speed Bump shows that the pandemic has reached mythic proportions.
The 1977 science-fiction epic Close Encounters of the Third Kind helped cement Steven Spielberg as a master of the genre, and the movie’s epic story of humans coming into contact with aliens was only made that more memorable thanks to soaring and sweeping score by John Williams.
Throughout the entire movie, the score pushes the plot along to the point where the humans finally begin to communicate with the alien mothership, which is another way of inserting Williams’ composition into the picture. The “Play The Five Tones” scene is a miraculous piece of filmmaking and orchestration as it starts rather small and hushed before going into a back and forth between the two species before growing into a grand composition that ultimately ends with a chorus of strings growing in intensity as the aliens reveal themselves to the amazement of the humans.
As the U.S. military and its allies attacked the last Islamic State holdouts last year, it wasn’t clear how many civilians were still in the besieged desert town of Baghouz, Syria.
So Human Rights Watch asked a private satellite company, Planet, for its regular daily photos and also made a special request for video.
“That live video actually was instrumental in convincing us that there were thousands of civilians trapped in this pocket,” said Josh Lyons of Human Rights Watch. “Therefore the coalition forces absolutely had an obligation to stop, and to avoid bombardment of that pocket at that time.”
Which they did until the civilians fled.
Lyons, who’s based in Geneva, Switzerland, has a job title you wouldn’t expect at a human rights group: director of geospatial analysis. He says satellite imagery is increasingly a crucial component of human rights investigations, bolstering traditional eyewitness accounts, especially in areas where it’s too dangerous to send researchers
…They get those images from a handful of private, commercial satellite companies, like Planet and Maxar.
For the past three years, Planet has done something unprecedented. Its 150 satellites photograph the entire land mass of the earth every day — more than one million images every 24 hours. Pick any place on earth — from your house to the peak of Mt. Everest — and Planet is taking a photograph of it today.
“If you could visualize a string of pearls going around the poles, looking down and capturing imagery of the earth underneath it every single day,” said Rich Leshner, who runs Planet’s Washington office.
Scroll through Planet’s photo gallery and you get a bird’s eye view of the state of the world: idle cruise ships clustered off Coco Cay in the Bahamas, deserted streets around normally bustling sites like the Colosseum in Rome, and the smoke from the relentless fires set by farmers clearing land in the Amazon rainforest.
U.S. government satellites are the size of a bus. Planet’s satellites are the size of a loaf of bread. Planet is in business to make money, and its clients include the U.S. military and big corporations. But it also works with lots of non-profits and other groups it never anticipated.
Supermassive black holes are among the most exciting and puzzling objects in the universe. These are the giant, massive bodies that sit at the heart of most, perhaps all, galaxies. Indeed, they may be the seeds from which all galaxies grow.
Supermassive black holes are at least a hundred thousand times the mass of our sun. They are often surrounded by thick clouds of gas that radiate vast amounts of energy. When this happens, they are called active galactic nuclei. Discovering the properties of these clouds, and their curious central residents, is an ongoing exercise for astrophysicists.
Now researchers have a new phenomenon to consider — the idea that planets can form in the massive clouds of dust and gas around supermassive black holes. Last year, Keichi Wada at Kagoshima University in Japan, and a couple of colleagues showed that under certain conditions planets ought to form in these clouds. These black hole planets, or blanets as the team call them, would be quite unlike any conventional planet and raise the possibility of an entirely new class of objects for astronomers to dream about.
…Half a world away, Nova Spivack watched a livestream of Beresheet’s mission control from a conference room in Los Angeles. As the founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, a nonprofit whose goal is to create “a backup of planet Earth,” Spivack had a lot at stake in the Beresheet mission. The spacecraft was carrying the foundation’s first lunar library, a DVD-sized archive containing 30 million pages of information, human DNA samples, and thousands of tardigrades, those microscopic “water bears” that can survive pretty much any environment—including space.
But when the Israelis confirmed Beresheet had been destroyed, Spivack was faced with a distressing question: Did he just smear the toughest animal in the known universe across the surface of the moon?
…The lunar library on the Beresheet lander consisted of 25 layers of nickel, each only a few microns thick. The first four layers contain roughly 60,000 high-resolution images of book pages, which include language primers, textbooks, and keys to decoding the other 21 layers. Those layers hold nearly all of the English Wikipedia, thousands of classic books, and even the secrets to David Copperfield’s magic tricks.
Spivack had planned to send DNA samples to the moon in future versions of the lunar library, not on this mission. But a few weeks before Spivack had to deliver the lunar library to the Israelis, however, he decided to include some DNA in the payload anyway. Ha and an engineer on Spivack’s team added a thin layer of epoxy resin between each layer of nickel, a synthetic equivalent of the fossilized tree resin that preserves ancient insects. Into the resin they tucked hair follicles and blood samples from Spivack and 24 others that he says represent a diverse genetic cross-section of human ancestry, in addition to some dehydrated tardigrades and samples from major holy sites, like the Bodhi tree in India. A few thousand extra dehydrated tardigrades were sprinkled onto tape that was attached to the lunar library.
… While many of us today think of cats primarily as pampered pets and cherished internet weirdos, for early modern Europeans cats ran the gamut, from pests and carriers of disease, to indicators of witchcraft and other feminine misbehavior, to objects of affection and partners in play. Shakespeare’s own references to cats display such a variety. Trying to shake Hermia off in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lysander calls her “thou cat, thou burr! vile thing,” (3.2.270), and Macbeth’s First Witch calls out to Graymalkin, a common name for a cat that could also be applied to a “jealous or imperious old woman,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (1.1.9). In other places, he references a cat’s behavior, as when Falstaff insists he is “as vigilant as a cat to steal cream” (Henry IV, Part 1 4.2.59). The Oxford English Dictionary also credits Shakespeare with the first reference to a cat’s purr, in All’s Well That Ends Well (5.2.19)…
Everything about this movie makes me happy. The cast is superb, the editing and photography and music are gorgeous, and the story is REALLY FUCKING CREEPY.
I can’t wait for y’all to see this when it comes out in September.
The short description of the movie on YouTube says:
Set in 1990, a lonely bachelor named David (Brian Landis Folkins) searches for an escape from the day-to-day drudgery of caring for his aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While seeking a partner through a video dating service, he discovers a strange VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. Hosted by the charming and charismatic Andy (Wil Wheaton), the tape offers him much-needed company, compassion, and friendship. But, Andy’s friendship comes at a cost, and David desperately struggles to afford the price of admission.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, John Hertz, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Peer, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
The 2019 Aurealis Awards were announced in an online ceremony on July 25. Presented by the Continuum Foundation (ConFound), the award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
The winners of the 2019 Aurealis Awards are:
BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION
The Dog Runner, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK
Black Magick, Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott (Image Comics)
BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
The Jindabyne Secret, Jo Hart (Deadset Press)
BEST HORROR SHORT STORY
“Vivienne and Agnes”, Chris Mason (Beside the Seaside – Tales from the Day Tripper)
BEST HORROR NOVELLA
“Into Bones Like Oil”, Kaaron Warren (Into Bones Like Oil)
BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY
“Dragon by Subscription”, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Patreon, self-published)
BEST FANTASY NOVELLA
“‘Scapes Made Diamond”, Shauna O’Meara (Interzone 280)
The finalists for the 2019 Aurealis Awards were announced March 25 by the Continuum Foundation (ConFound). The award recognizes the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION
Scorch Dragons by Amie Kaufman (HarperCollins Publishers)
Race for the Red Dragon by Rebecca Lim (Allen & Unwin)
The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)
Jinxed!: The Curious Curse of Cora Bell by Rebecca McRitchie (author) & Sharon O’Connor (illustrator) (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Glimme by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books)
The Lost Stone of SkyCity by Heather Waugh (Fremantle Press)
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK
Haphaven by Louie Joyce (Lion Forge)
Yahoo Creek by Tohby Riddle (Allen & Unwin)
Black Magick by Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott (Image Comics)
Super Nova by Krys Saclier (Ford Street Publishing)
Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery by Renee Treml (Allen & Unwin)
BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
“The Jindabyne Secret by Jo Hart (Deadset Press)
“Glass-Heart by K S Nikakis (SOV Media)
“Dragon by Subscription” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Patreon, self-published)
“Seaweed” by Andrea Teare (Breach #11)
“Each City” by Ellen Van Neerven (Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOZYA Stories, Walker Books Australia)
“Rats” by Marlee Jane Ward (Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOZYA Stories, Walker Books Australia)
BEST HORROR SHORT STORY
“Loose Stones” by Joanne Anderton (Infinite Threads)
“The Mark” by Grace Chan (Verge 2019: Uncanny)
“Pilgrimage” by Matthew R Davis (Breach #10)
“The Unwrapping” by Terry Dowling (Echoes)
“Of Meat and Man” by Jason Fischer (SNAFU: Last Stand, Cohesion Press)
“Vivienne and Agnes” by Chris Mason (Beside the Seaside – Tales from the Day Tripper)
“The Moth Tapes” by J Ashley Smith (Aurealis #117, Chimaera Publications)
BEST HORROR NOVELLA
Yellowheart by Alan Baxter (Served Cold)
Supermassive Black Mass by Matthew R Davis (Short Sharp Shocks! #21)
Into Bones Like Oil by Kaaron Warren (Into Bones Like Oil)
BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY
“Loose Stones” by Joanne Anderton (Infinite Threads, Brio Books)
“1078 Reasons” by Aidan Doyle (Translunar Travelers Lounge)
“Pigshit and Gold” by Aiki Flinthart (Dimension6 #18, coeur de lion)
“CurioQueens” by Ephiny Gale (Constellary Tales Magazine #4)
“Good Dog, Alice” by Juliet Marillier (Wonderland, Titan books)
“Dragon by Subscription” by Tansy Rayner Roberts (Patreon, self-published)
BEST FANTASY NOVELLA
Like Ripples on a Blank Shore by J S Breukelaar (Collision: Stories, Meerkat Press)
The Orchard by Ephiny Gale (Andromeda Spaceways Magazine #76)
Out of Darkness by Chris Mason (Tales of the Lost, Things in the Well)
‘Scapes Made Diamond by Shauna O’Meara (Interzone 280)
To Hell and Back by Michael Pryor (Aurealis #120, Chimaera Publications)
The Final Prologue by Christopher Sequeira (Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not, IFWG Publishing Australia)
BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY
“Sky Tears” by Mike Adamson (Alien Dimensions #17, Maldek House)
“Wreck Diving” by Joanne Anderton (Aurealis #123, Chimaera Publications)
“Riding the Snails” by Jason Fischer (War of the Worlds: Battleground Australia, Clan Destine Press)
“Canute” by RPL Johnson (SNAFU: Last Stand, Cohesion Press)
“What We Named the Needle” by Freya Marske (Analog Science Fiction and Fact Jul/Aug 2019, Penny Publications)
“Micro” by Angela Meyer (Kill Your Darlings, Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Showcase 2019)
BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVELLA
Ventiforms by Sean Monaghan (Asimov’s Science Fiction Jan-Feb 2019)
‘Scapes Made Diamond by Shauna O’Meara (Interzone 280)
You Will Remember Who You Were by Cat Sparks (Dimension6 #16)
Prisoncorp by Marlee Jane Ward (Seizure)
Collision: Stories by J S Breukelaar (Meerkat Press)
Blackbirds Sing by Aiki Flintoff (CAT Press)
Scar Tissue and Other Stories by Narrelle M Harris (Clan Destine Press)
Five Dragons by Pamela Jeffs (Four Ink Press)
Stray Bats by Margo Lanagan (Small Beer Press)
Men and Machines I: Space Operas and Special Ops by Charlie Nash (Flying Nun Publications)
Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories edited by Michael Earp (Walker Books Australia)
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not edited by Christopher Sequeira (IFWG Publishing Australia)
The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 13 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris)
Mission: Critical edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris)
BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
The Darkest Bloom by P M Freestone (Scholastic)
Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller (UQP)
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
Dev1at3 by Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier (Macmillan Australia)
I Heard The Wolf Call My Name by K S Nikakis (SOV Media)
BEST HORROR NOVEL
Chuwa: The Rat People of Lahore by Brian Craddock (Broken Puppet Books)
Remains by Andrew Cull (IFWG Pub Aus)
A Riddle in Bronze by Simon Haynes (Bowman Press)
The Rich Man’s House by Andrew McGahan (Allen & Unwin)
Body Farm Z by Deborah Sheldon (Severed Press)
BEST FANTASY NOVEL
Angel Mage by Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Wailing Woman by Maria Lewis (Little, Brown Book Group)
The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier (Macmillan Australia)
The Darkest Bloom by P M Freestone (Scholastic)
Graveyard Shift in Ghost Town by Michael Pryor (Allen & Unwin)
BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
The Subjects by Sarah Hopkins (Text Publishing)
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Allen & Unwin)
The Trespassers by Meg Mundell (UQP)
The Year of the Fruit Cake by Gillian Polack (IFWG Publishing Australia)
The Glad Shout by Alice Robinson (Affirm Press)
Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson (Allen & Unwin)
(1) VINTAGE. New art from Star Trek: Picard. What should we call this episode? “The Grapes of Wrath of Khan”? The big reveal on the story and characters of the new show will be at San Diego Comic-Con next week.
(2) MORE BEST TRANSLATED HUGO FEEDBACK. Taiyo Fujii
commented about the proposal on Facebook.
Thanks for M. Barkley and Rachel S. Cordasco for proposing Best Translated Novel for Hugo, but I should say as a Japanese writer, It’s not necessary.
Hugo already honored 3 translated works without translated category, and we saw the translator of that works Ken Liu was celebrated on the presentation stage. This is why I respect Hugo and voters, who don’t cares the work is from overseas or not.
I worry if translated category is held, translated short forms will be ignored by s-s, novelette and novella which are fascinated category for new young non anglophone writers. We are trying to open the door to be just a writer with contributing short forms, and readers already saw our works, and voted for nomination. But if translated category was held, only novels are honored.
In fact, translated fiction category is set on literary award held in non anglophone country, then we Japanese couldn’t give prize for Three Body Problem as the best novel of Seiun Awards even if we hope to honor.
Michael Ward, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis (13 hrs)
I have argued that Dr. Michael Ward’s Planet Narnia is the most important resource for reading Narnia that has emerged in the new century. While one might argue with parts of Ward’s thesis–as I have done—Planet Narnia is a great book for providing close readings of Lewis’ greatest works in a literary way that invites us into a deeper understanding of the books behind the Narnian chronicles. I hope the publishers record The Narnia Code, the popular version of the Planet Narnia resource, but I am thrilled that they began with the magnum opus, Planet Narnia. Meanwhile, Audible also has Ward’s “Now You Know” audio course, “Christology, Cosmology, and C.S. Lewis,” a shorter but helpful resource for newcomers to the conversation. The audiobook reader, Nigel Patterson, is professional and even in tone.
(4) INTRODUCING NEWTON EWELL. Yesterday a commenter noticed
that artist Newton Ewell was one of the NASFiC/Westercon guests who had no entry
in Fancyclopedia 3. Overnight someone (“Confan”) decided rather than
complain, they’d write one for him. It’s very good, and apparently there’s a
lot to know about – Newton Ewell.
Early Europeans lived alongside giant 3-meter tall birds new research published on Wednesday explains. The bird species was one of the largest to ever roam the earth weighing in at a staggering 450 kg.
Bones of the massive, probably flightless bird were discovered in a cave in Crimea. “We don’t have enough data yet to say whether it was most closely related to ostriches or to other birds, but we estimate it weighed about 450kg,” says the study’s lead author Dr. Nikita Zelenkov. This formidable weight is nearly double the largest moa, three times the largest living bird, the common ostrich, and nearly as much as an adult polar bear.”
(6) MARTIAN CARAVANSARY. Slate has
posted an interview with Robert Zubrin, Founder and president of the Mars
Society and author of The Case for Space: “What Will Life On Mars be Like?”
Slate: How do you envision settling Mars will begin, and what will the early settlements look like?
Robert Zubrin: I think it will begin with an exploration, and then the establishment of a permanent Mars base to support exploration. Whoever is sponsoring this base, whether it’s the U.S. government, an international consortium of governments, or private groups, it’s going to be tremendously to their benefit to have people stay extra rotations on Mars because the biggest expense is transporting people back and forth. If it costs $100 million to send someone to Mars and back—and that’s a low estimate—it would be a no-brainer to offer someone $5 million to stay there an extra two years. So, I think you’ll start to see people staying extra rotations on Mars, just like there are some people who spend an extra rotation on trips to Antarctica. And then, relationships will form. And people will have children. And you will see the beginning of an actual settlement, a base.
(7) AUREALIS AWARDS. The 2019 Aurealis Awards are now
The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for speculative fiction, are for works created by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.
Full guidelines and FAQ can be found on the Aurealis Awards website:
A federal appeals court’s opinion on Lindie Banks v. Northern Trust Corp. is — as one would expect from a case charging breaches of fiduciary duties — full of references to assets, investments and irrevocable trusts. Naturally, the Night King from Game of Thrones also makes a showing.
In the opinion filed July 5, Judge John B. Owens writes that the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit won’t discard a prior legal precedent “the way that Game of Thrones rendered the entire Night King storyline meaningless in its final season.”
Rip Torn, an Emmy Award-winning actor who starred in “Men in Black” and HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez. He was 88.
Torn died Tuesday at his home in Lakeville, Connecticut with his family by his side, Miramontez said.
The actor had a seven-decade career in film, television and theater, with nearly 200 credits to his name.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 10, 1903 — John Wyndham. His best-known works include The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos, both written in the Fifties. The latter novel was filmed twice as Village of the Damned. Both iBooks and Kindle have an impressive selection of his novels though little of his short fiction is available alas. (Died 1969.)
Born July 10, 1923 — Earl Hamner Jr. Though much better known for writing and producing The Waltons, he wrote eight scripts for the Twilight Zone including “Black Leather Jackets” in which an alien falls in love with a human girl and “The Hunt” where raccoon hunters enter the Twilight Zone. He also wrote the script of the Hanna-Barbera production of Charlotte’s Web. (Died 2016.)
Born July 10, 1929 — George Clayton Johnson. He’s best known for co-writing with William F. Nolan the Logan’s Run novel, the source for the Logan’s Run film. He was also known for his scripts for the Twilight Zone including “A Game of Pool”, “Kick the Can”, “Nothing in the Dark”, and “A Penny for Your Thoughts”, and the first telecast episode of the original Star Trek, “The Man Trap”. (Died 2015.)
Born July 10, 1931 — Julian May. She‘s best known for her Saga of Pliocene Exile (known as the Saga of the Exiles in the UK) and Galactic Milieu series: Jack the Bodiless, Diamond Mask and Magnificat. She also chaired the 1952 Worldcon in Chicago. (Died 2017.)
Born July 10, 1941 — David Hartwell. Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes him as “perhaps the single most influential book editor of the past forty years in the American science fiction publishing world.” I certainly fondly remember the The Space Opera Renaissance he co-edited with Kathryn Cramer. Not to mention that his Year’s Best Fantasy and Year’s Best SF anthologies are still quite excellent reading. (Died 2016.)
Born July 10, 1945 — Ron Glass. Probably best known genre wise as Shepherd Book in the Firefly series and its sequel Serenity. His first genre role was as Jerry Merris in Deep Space, a SF horror film and he’d later show up voicing Philo D. Grenman in Strange Frame: Love & Sax (“slated as the world’s first animated lesbian-themed sci-fi film”; look it up as it as an impressive voice cast) and he showed up twice as J. Streiten, MD in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh and he was on Voyager playing a character named Loken in the “Nightingale” episode. (Died 2016.)
Born July 10, 1970 — John Simm, 49. The second of modern Masters on Doctor Who. He appeared in the final three episodes of series three during the Time of the Tenth Doctor: “Utopia”, “The Sound of Drums”, and “Last of the Time Lords”.
(11) COMICS SECTION.
Wizard of Id comes up with a problem faced by witches in the land of Oz, one that never occurred to me before.
The movie opens up aboard a spaceship carrying Commander Christopher Draper (played by Paul Mantee, appearing in his first film major film role), Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West, an actor commonly found on television westerns) and an adorable monkey named Mona. Things take an unexpected turn when they detect a meteoroid and are “forced out of orbital velocity to avoid collision with planetoid into tighter orbit of Mars.” As the situation worsens, the crew is left with no other option than to immediately attempt to land on the fourth planet. While fleeing the vehicle in their individual escape pods, Draper is separated from McReady and Mona.
Draper adapts to the conditions on the red planet, while searching for McReady and Mona. Even though he is part of the first crew on Mars, Draper learns quickly what it takes to survive. He finds shelter in a cave. For heat, Draper discovers yellow rocks that “burn like coal.” Heating the rocks not only keeps him warm, but also produces oxygen, which he then uses to refill his oxygen tank. Throughout the film, Draper keeps a careful audio record about all that he experiences, which provides a useful narrative device when things happen off-screen.
I knew this was going to be good, but I definitely did not know just how good it would be.
Elizabeth Lim’s Spin the Dawn was a classic-style story with a lush and beautiful world and gorgeous prose. Featuring the classic “girl dressing as a boy” trope, a Project-Runway-esque competition, and a quest, Spin the Dawn weaves tradition and fantasy into a phenomenal story.
…Fancast suffers from some of the same issues that many of the down ballot categories do, though perhaps “suffer” is the wrong word. There is a lot of institutional memory built in here for fancasts which are consistent year after year. With a core of listeners who are frequent participants in the Hugo Award process, it is not surprising to see a number of finalists come back year after year. I’ve said this about a number of other categories, but it does make me wonder a little bit about the health of the category, but on the other hand it does also give a snapshot of what the genre and fan conversation and communities may have looked like over a several year period. A positive takeaway, though, is that the only repeat winner was SF Squeecast in the first two years of the category. Both Be the Serpent and Our Opinions Are Correct are new to the ballot and are new to being a podcast.
Walker Stalkers LLC, which runs conventions under the Walker Stalker Con, Heroes & Villains, and FanFest names, has been having a bit of a rough patch when it comes to finances lately. We reported on this back in April, and while the company has made some effort to refund people for cancelled events and appearances, many might claim that it hasn’t been quite enough. Those issues seem to have come to a head though, as their problems are now becoming known outside of the geek community.
Nashville’s WSMV is reporting that the Better Business Bureau is now openly warning people to avoid Walker Stalkers LLC run events.
Swedish film reviewers are giving a cautious welcome to Midsommar, a horror film about a bizarre pagan festival in a remote part of Sweden.
Directed by Hereditary’s Ari Aster, the film stars Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor as an American couple who travel to Harga village in Halsingland to observe the midsummer ritual that takes place there only once every 90 years.
The film – which was actually shot in Hungary – has been getting strong reviews since it opened in the US earlier this month. It currently has an 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
One critic, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, tweeted that Midsommar would “do for Swedish pagan rituals what Psycho did for showers”.
The film opened in Sweden on Wednesday and the first reviews have been appearing in the Swedish press. So what do the critics there think?
When Disney announced that Halle Bailey, a teen actress and one-half of the singing group Chloe x Halle, had landed the role of Ariel in the forthcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, some people on social media went bonkers.
But not over the fact that it’s 2019 and the Danish fairy tale tells the story of a young female creature who loves singing and wearing a seashell bikini top and eagerly gives up her voice in exchange for a romance with a good-looking guy. Nor are critics outraged by the kind of message that narrative conveys to young children.
Instead, certain circles of the Internet are aghast that the ingenue cast by Disney is black.
The complaints run along the lines of: “The actress should look like the real Little Mermaid!” By which they presumably mean the white-skinned, blue-eyed cartoon character in the 1989 blockbuster film. The hashtag #NotMyAriel quickly began trending on Twitter, and since the announcement last week, scores of fans have pledged to boycott the film.
For days the company remained silent regarding the controversy, but Freeform, a cable network owned by Disney and on which Bailey appears as a cast member on Grown-ish, issued a statement on Instagram clarifying that, “Ariel…is a mermaid.”
To the many numismatists who may be reading this newsletter, here is a unique piece for your consideration: a Gemini 8 Flown United States 1864 Large Motto 2¢ Piece, graded MS 61 BN by NGC and encapsulated by CAG (Collectibles Authentication Guaranty) . This coin was supplied by an Ohio coin dealer to Neil Armstrong who took it with him on the mission, “carried in a specially sewn pocket in my pressure suit.” As you may know, Gemini 8 performed the world’s first orbital docking in space but it nearly ended in disaster when one of the Orbit and Maneuvering System thrusters stuck in the on position causing an uncontrollable tumbling. Armstrong was somehow able to control it and bring the craft in for a successful emergency landing. This coin, for many years on loan from the Armstrong family to the Armstrong Air & Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is extensively provenanced by the dealer and also Neil Armstrong’s father.
[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John
King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for
some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the
…Susan Ellison, 58, a native of the British midlands, was puttering around the hillside house in Sherman Oaks that she had shared for more than three decades with her famous (and pugnacious) 84-year-old writer husband Harlan Ellison, best known for his science fiction. He had dubbed it the Lost Aztek Temple of Mars long before suffering a stroke in 2014 that left him bedridden.
“I’m an insomniac and he was still asleep when I checked in on him early in the morning,” she recalled during a telephone conversation. “Then his therapist came,” and found him unresponsive.
“I thought he’d go kicking and screaming, but he died quietly. And I thought I’d be a lot more prepared,” she continued. Instead, she said, “I essentially shut down. He gave me a terrific life and he loved me completely. But I gave my life to him and now I don’t know who I am anymore. I have to find out.”
The experts say everyone reacts differently to a profound loss….
These days, our world is undergoing a sudden and dramatic transformation. Starting immediately after the War, and accelerating since, many former colonies are becoming free nations, ready to embrace their potential and individuality. As these new countries find their own ways toward futures separate from their former masters, we in the Western world are able to experience life from different perspectives. These perspectives show the exquisite diversity of the human race. We are given the rare privilege to experience perspectives different from our own, perspectives sometimes frightening, sometimes exciting, but always intriguing. In doing so, we provide these nations the ultimate freedom: they can dream big. They can embrace new technologies and different ways of looking at the world. They can shake off the repressive yoke of colonialism and allow themselves to achieve their true potential.
Ten Years to Doomsday, the delightful new novel by the writing team of Chester Anderson and Michael Kurland, is a charming exploration of many of these themes using a mix of farce and drama….
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on.
This series deserves a final season that makes sense.
Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!
Petition author Dylan D. says in an update —
I haven’t heard from anyone HBO-related. I don’t think people can reasonably expect HBO to completely remake the season, or any part of this particular series (keep in mind the prequel spinoffs). It costs a fortune to shoot one episode, and I think most signers understand that. Will HBO lose gobs of money over this? Eh probably not. As Heath Ledger’s Joker once said, “It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message.” And I think this message is one of frustration and disappointment at its core.
Lego has unveiled a Stranger Things set that literally flips things upside down.
Stranger Things: The Upside Down, based on the Netflix series, is a massive 2,287-brick set where half the set is overturned. The piece consists of the house of the Byers family, played by Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp in the show, on the top side, and the supernatural alien world of the Upside Down version of the house on the bottom, but flipped.
The set is designed to be displayed on either side. It measures over 12 inches (32cm) tall, 17 inches (44cm) wide and 8 inches (21cm) deep. Lego is touting a shared building experience with this one, pointing out that the sections of the house come in 11 bags and that the real world and Upside Down houses can be built concurrently, if that’s your thing.
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 17, 1936 — Dennis Hopper. I think his first genre film would be Tarzan and Jane Regained… Sort of, an Andy Warhol film. Queen of Blood, a vampire thinly disguised as SF film, was his next genre film. My Science Project was his next outing before he took part in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. And now we get to the Super Mario Bros. where he played King Koopa. What a weird film that was! Of he followed that by being Deacon on Waterworld… And then doing Space Truckers. Ouch. He’s El Niño in The Crow: Wicked Prayer, a film I barely remember. His final role was voicing one of the animated wolves in Alpha and Omega. He was also in Blue Velvet but I’ll be damn if I can figure out how to call that genre. (Died 2010.)
Born May 17, 1946 — F. Paul Wilson, 73. I’ve read, let me check, oh about half I see of the Repairman Jack novels. Anyone finished them off and should I do so? What else by him is worth my time?
Born May 17, 1950 — Mark Leeper, 69. As Mark says on his site, “In and out of science fiction circles Mark and Evelyn Leeper are one of the best known writing couples on the Internet. Mark became an avid science fiction fan at age six with TV’s ‘Commando Cody.’ Both went to the University of Massachusetts in 1968.” And as Bill Higgins says here, their MT VOID fanzine is one of the longest published ones still going.
Born May 17, 1954 — Bryce Zabel, 65. A producer, director and writer. Genre wise, he’s been involved as a producer or director with M.A.N.T.I.S., Dark Skies, Blackbeard, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. Writing wise, he has written for most of these shows plus the Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and Atlantis: The Lost Empire screenplays.
Born May 17, 1954 — Colin Greenland, 65. His partner is the Susanna Clarke, with whom he has lived since 1996. The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction which was based on his PhD thesis. His most successful fictional work is the Plenty series that starts with Take Back Plenty and continues with Seasons of Plenty, The Plenty Principle and wraps up with Mother of Plenty. In the Eighties and Ninties, he was involved in the editorial work of Foundation: The Review of Science Fiction and Interzone.
Born May 17, 1967 — Michael Arnzen, 52. Winner of three Bram Stoker Awards, one for his Grave Markings novel, another for Goreletter and yet another for his poetry collection, Freakcidents. Very impressive indeed. Oh and he’s a SJW.
(7) CALL FOR AUREALIS
AWARDS JUDGES. The appeal begins:
We are seeking expressions of interest from Australian residents who would like to judge for the 2019 Aurealis Awards.
Judges are volunteers and are drawn from the Australian speculative fiction community, from diverse professions and backgrounds, including academics, booksellers, librarians, published authors, publishing industry professionals, reviewers and enthusiasts. The only qualification necessary is a demonstrated knowledge of and interest in their chosen category (good time management skills and an ability to work in a team in an online environment are also essential).
(8) BOOK TO SCREEN. Jeanne
Gomoll’s Carl Brandon, already
available as a print-on-demand book, now can also be purchased from
Lulu in PDF format.
Terry Carr recounts the invention of an imaginary black science fiction fan named Carl Brandon, one of the field’s most (in)famous hoaxes. In addition to Carl Brandon’s complete history, this volume includes his J.D. Salinger parody, “The Cacher of the Rye;” a more current parody by Carl Brandon 2.0, “The Kvetcher on the Racists;” and an essay by Samuel R. Delany, “Racism and Science Fiction.” To quote Carr: “In the late fifties, several of the fans of the Bay Area…presented fandom with a new fanwriter who was quickly acclaimed as one of the best writers around and who was, not incidentally, the first prominent fan who was black.” Read the book for more of this fascinating tale. All proceeds go to the Carl Brandon Society, which promotes discussions on race at conventions and conferences, and through its support of the Parallax and Kindred literary awards, and the Octavia E. Butler
…In an astonishing, and frankly spooky, turn of events, as night fell, many of those wounded soldiers began to see a strange glow emanating from their wounds. They called it “Angel’s Glow” and it lived up to its nickname. When they were eventually recovered and moved to the field hospital, the soldiers whose wounds had been so blessed ended up recovering better and faster, with cleaner wounds and a better survival rate than the un-glowing. This really would sound downright impossible if it weren’t for the fact that it’s so well documented…
…Further, the author seems invested in telling stories about worlds having to change to survive, a theme that her All the Birds in the Sky used for Earth, as a pair of protagonists tackle the problems of Earth in completely different ways. The City in the Middle of the Night continues that tradition, although the framing and the process is very different. The tone is very much darker than the prior novel, those looking for the breeziness of the first novel are going to have expectations dashed picking up this book
(13) MATERIALS GIRL. HBO
put out an official teaser for its forthcoming original series, His Dark Materials.
Adapting Philip Pullman’s award-winning trilogy of the same name, which is considered a modern masterpiece of imaginative fiction, the first season follows Lyra, a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children, and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. As she journeys through the worlds, including our own, Lyra meets Will, a determined and courageous boy. Together, they encounter extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living?—?and the dead?—?in their hands.
Frank Babics: Who Can Replace a Man? aka The Best Science Fiction Stories of Brian W. Aldiss
Mark Baker: Murder in Little Italy by Victoria Thompson
Brad Bigelow: The Bloater by Rosemary Tonks
Paul Bishop: W. Glenn Duncan 1940-2019
Les Blatt: The Exploits of the Patent Leather Kid by Erle Stanley Gardner
Joachim Boaz: The World Menders by Lloyd Biggle; The Sudden Star by Pamela Sargent; The Lost Face by Josef Nesvadba (translated by Iris Urwin)
John Boston: Amazing Stories: Fact and Science Fiction, June 1964, edited by Cele Goldsmith Lalli
Ben Boulden: Call Me Hazard by “Frank Wynne” (Brian Garfield); Closeup by Len Deighton
Brian Busby: An Army Doctor’s Romance by Grant Allen
Steve Case: The Deep by John Crowley
Ellison Cooper: The Lingala Code by Warren Kiefer
Hector DeJean: The Man in a Cage by (Jack aka) John Holbrook Vance
Martin Edwards: The Name of Annabel Lee by Julian Symons
Peter Enfantino: Atlas (proto-Marvel) horror comics, April 1952
Will Errickson: Finishing Touches by Thomas Tessier
José Ignacio Escribano: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalensen (tranlated by Don Bartlett)
Olman Feelyus: Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter
Mark Finn: “The God in the Bowl” by Robert E. Howard
Paul Fraser: Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1943, edited by John W. Campbell, Jr.
John Grant: The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard; Good Morning, Darkness by Ruth Francisco
Aubrey Hamilton: She Came Back by Patricia Wentworth
Rich Horton: The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackery; Roger Zelazny capsule reviews; Alter S. Reiss stories; The Ghost Brigade and The Lost Colony by John Scalzi
Jerry House: Zane Grey Comics #246, 1949: Thunder Mountainadapted
Kate Jackson: A Knife for Harry Dodds by “George Bellairs” (Harold Blundell); Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie
Tracy K: The Iron Gates by Margaret Millar; April reading
Colman Keane: “Sweet Little Hands” by Lawrence Block
George Kelley: The Great SF Stories #9 (1947) edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
Joe Kenney: Chase by Norman Daniels
Rob Kitchin: The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan; The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
B. V. Lawson: A Bleeding of Innocents by Jo Bannister
Evan Lewis: “Tarzan” aka “Tarzan and the Tarmangani”, a 1940sTarzan comic book prose filler/mailing permit content attributed to Edgar Rice Burroughs, ghostwriter unknown
Steve Lewis: “Child of the Green Light” by Leigh Brackett, Super Science Stories February 1942, edited by Alden H. Norton; Saturday Night Dead by Richard Rosen; “The Eyes of Countess Gerda” by May Edginton, The Story-Teller, December 1911
John F. Norris: The Perfect Alibi by Christopher St. John Sprigg
John O’Neill: Davy by Edgar Pangborn; Tea with the Black Dragon by R. A. MacAvoy
Matt Paust: The Last Supper by Charles McCarry
James Reasoner: The Land of Mist by “Arthur Quiller” (Kenneth Bulmer)
Gerard Saylor: The Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Jack Seabrook and Peter Enfantino: DC war comics, December 1974 (and the best of 1974)
Steven H Silver: George Scithers (editor of Amra, Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Asimov’s SF Adventure Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales)
Victoria Silverwolf: Worlds of Tomorrow, February 1964, edited by Frederik Pohl
Kerrie Smith: Cities of the Sun by David Levien
“TomCat”: The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage by Enid Blyton
David Vineyard: Strip for Murder by Richard S. Prather
Mike Kennedy, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, John King
Tarpinian, Todd Mason, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jack Lint.]
Somehow, a disposable coffee cup found its way into last night’s episode of Game of Thrones. In Winterfell’s main hall, Tormund sloppily toasts Jon as Daenerys watches nervously in the background, concerned that her lover-slash-nephew could challenge her for the Iron Throne. It’s a stressful time for the Khaleesi, and apparently, she prefers to calm her nerves with lattés instead of wine.
Yes, instead of a metal chalice — maybe something bejeweled, she is the Queen after all — the Mother of Dragons had what looked suspiciously like a Starbucks coffee cup sitting in front of her at a banquet celebrating the victory of the living in the Battle of Winterfell. It’s a big, obvious goof that made it into one of the most widely and closely watched shows in television history. Yikes.
…Hardcore fans have become consumed by the need to replay episodes in their heads and contemplate theories as they toss and turn in bed after the credits wrap, leaving many to say “not today” to episode anxiety by reaching for CBD products to calm themselves. So much so that the folks at Lord Jones, which specializes in luxury CBD products, have begun to notice a spike in Instagram tags for their brand on Sunday nights.
…CBD, aka cannabidiol, is the nonpsychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant, and folks today turn to CBD-infused lotions, oils, gummies, pills and other products to help with their stress and anxiety.
(3) SPOILER-MAN. New trailer for Spider-Man: Far from Home. Joe H. cautions:
“Note that it contains some pretty major spoilers for events from Avengers: Endgame, so calibrate your
watching decision accordingly.”
(4) JURY VERDICT. The
Aurealis Awards have published the “2018
Judging Comments” from the panelists who decided this year’s winners. Here’s
one example —
Best Science Fiction Novel
Panel Members: Dianne De Bellis, Astrid Edwards, Lorraine Cormack. Cathie Tasker (Convenor)
Number of Entries: 43
The Best Science Fiction novel panel judged the entries against several criteria. Of utmost importance was the literary merit of the work. Originality, especially for SF themes, was also valued, along with strong characterisation and interesting world building. Another important factor was the extent to which science fiction themes were integral to the novel and the story being told.
Overview of nominations:
The competition for the top spots on the shortlist is tough this year.
The themes represented are varied, with several surreal works, space operas and genetic manipulation stories. Social issues are strong in fiction this year. The best of these avoid clichè and show strong understanding of how to present such issues in narratives that are compelling and challenging but in the end tell a good story.
The quality of the editing made a big difference and those on the shortlist show tight and accurate editing. Publishers and self-publishers should understand that typographical and spelling errors as well as superfluous and irrelevant prose throw the reader out of the story and work against some otherwise good ideas.
A number of excellent novels failed to reach the shortlist as they either were not genre novels at all, or had science fiction references that were incidental at best to the story being told. In others, genre elements were cliched or weak. It was positive to see many sub-genres represented, including surreal works, space operas, and hard science fiction. Many novels were strongly concerned with contemporary issues.
(5) AUTOPSY FOR THE
REVOLUTION. Lewis Shiner supplies “The
Big Idea” today at Whatever,
explaining the genesis of his novel Outside
the Gates of Eden.
…I’d never written a book by starting with a high concept. My previous novels were inspired by historical incidents or particular obsessions of mine, and they usually announced themselves with dialog playing out in my head. Specifics first, generalities later. In this case the idea had such a grip on me that the specifics came tumbling along after it–the main characters, the first scenes, various milestones along the course of what I immediately knew was going to be at least a thousand-page manuscript.
What I didn’t know was why. What happened to our Revolution? To all our revolutions? How did the rich come to own the moral high ground along with all the banks and houses? I hoped the answers would come with the writing.
And if Outside the Gates of Eden does answer those questions, it’s in a novelistic way. Which is to say, I don’t expect readers to extract simple answers and match them to numbered questions printed in the back. Instead I hope that the experience of (re)living those years in the controlled environment of a novel will leave them feeling like maybe they understand something in a visceral way that they didn’t understand before….
(6) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born May 6, 1915 — Orson Welles. Certainly the broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” in 1938 was his pinnacle of genre success but he also for the Federal Theatre Project, did a 1936 adaptation of Macbeth with an entirely African American cast. That is was known as the Voodoo Macbeth might give you an idea of what he did to it. He would later do a more straightforward film of Macbeth. (Died 1985.)
Born May 6, 1932 — Jack Sharkey. Author of several humorous SF novels, It’s Magic,You Dope! and The Secret Martians. He also wrote an Addams Family franchise novel, The Addams Family. His two novels are in print at iBooks and Kindle though his short fiction is not so easily found. (Died 1991.)
Born May 6, 1946 — Nancy Kilpatrick, 73. Fangoria called her “Canada’s answer to Anne Rice”. I know that I’ve read something of her fiction but I’ll be damned if I remember what it was. I do recommend the anthology she edited Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper as it’s a most excellent horror collection.
Born May 6, 1952 — Michael O’Hare. He was best known for playing Commander Jeffrey Sinclair on Babylon 5. Other genre appearances were limited — he played Fuller in the 1984 film C.H.U.D, was Jimmy in the “ Heretic” episode of Tales from the Darkside and appeared as a thug on the subway train in The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. (Died 2012.)
Born May 6, 1961 — George Clooney, 58. In From Dusk till Dawn, he was Seth Gecko. His first genre film was Return of the Killer Tomatoes where he was Matt Stevens. Of course, he was was Batman in Batman & Robin, a grand mess of a film. Later, he’s Devlin in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, and voices the lead role in Fantastic Mr. Fox. He’s Lieutenant Matt Kowalski in Gravity, and his last genre film to date is Tomorrowland where he’s Frank Walker, an inventor who breaches other dimensions.
(8) FULL LID.
Alasdair Stuart says in his Full
Lid for May 3 he “takes a
detailed look at the fantastic new science fiction comedy podcast Oblivity, the Hugo spotlight returns
with the brilliant Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and I take a vastly spoiler-y look at
why I like the final scene of Avengers:
Endgame so much.”
No spoilers in this excerpt —
[Best Fan Writer finalist Elsa Sjunneson-Henry’s] writing, wherever it appears and in whatever form it takes always has focus and eloquence. She always unpacks its central ideas with absolute precision, the intensely complex emotional, psychological and sociological algebra of communicating with her audience always successfully landed. Much of Elsa’s work has centered on raising the visibility of disabled people and through that, increasing their inclusion in the speculative genre field. It’s yielded and will continue to yield, impressive results. She can be found on twitter at @snarkbat and online at http://snarkbat.com
All tyrannosaurids are tyrannosauroids, but not all tyrannosauroids are tyrannosaurids; the tyrannosaurid group of dinosaurs sits within the larger tyrannosauroid group. Gigantic tyrannosauroids such as T. rex and Albertosaurus are tyrannosaurids.
If only Danny Kaye were still alive to record those lines…
An unlikely model made an appearance at a fashion event in Marrakesh this week.
Purr-rading on the runway, the grey and white cat stole the show as it dodged models heading the other way.
There’s a video, with a lot of puns worse than that one.
OF THE DAY. In Continued on Vimeo, Tomin offers six
very short cartoons in less than 90 seconds!
John King Tarpinian, JJ, Joe H., Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge,
Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, Alasdair Stuart, and Mike Kennedy for some of
these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
The award is given periodically; this year the eligible series
were those ending in 2015-2017 with a book that individually could have been considered
for an Aurealis Award (i.e, a work
of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen or permanent resident.)
The series may be in any
speculative genre within the extended bounds of science fiction, fantasy or
The Sara Douglass Book Series Award
is not an Aurealis Award, but a separate, special award given by the same
The judges for the 2018 award, Katharine
Stubbs, Stephanie Gunn, Tehani Croft, and Ju Landeesse, considered more than
fifty book series entered, with series numbering two to eight individual books.
and publication dates spanning thirty years, totalling over 150 works.
The Sara Douglass Book Series award is designed to recognise that there are book series that are greater as a whole than the sum of their parts – that is, the judges were looking for series that tell a story across the series, rather than just using the same characters/setting across loosely connected books. The judges believe that shortlisted works will be best enjoyed read in succession, with an arc that begins in the first book and is completed in the last. Excellence of writing was of the highest consideration, along with sound speculative elements, quality worldbuilding, fascinating characters and engaging storytelling.
Blackthorn & Grim [Dreamer’s Pool (2014), Tower of Thorns (2015), Den of Wolves (2016)], Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)
Captive Prince [Captive Prince (2014), Prince’s Gambit (2014), Kings Rising (2016)], C S Pacat (Penguin Random House)
Electric Empire [The Diabolical Miss Hyde (2015), The Devious Dr Jekyll (2015), The Dastardly Miss Lizzie (2017)], Viola Carr (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Fire Sermon [The Fire Sermon (2015), The Map of Bones (2016), The Forever Ship (2017)], Francesca Haig (HarperCollins Publishers)
The Award is named for one of Australia’s best-known
speculative fiction writers.
Sara Douglass was the flagship author of the HarperVoyager Australian line, which launched the careers of many of our most popular writers, and paved the way for the vibrant and diverse speculative fiction scene Australia has today.
The 2018 Sara Douglass Book Series Award, Aurealis Awards, and
the Convenors’ Award for Excellence winners will be announced at the Aurealis
Awards ceremony in Melbourne on May 4.
for the 2018 Aurealis Awards were announced February 19 by the Continuum
Foundation (ConFound). The award recognizes the
achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers.
The winners of the Aurealis Awards, as well as the Sara Douglass Book Series Award, and the Convenors’ Award for Excellence will be announced at a ceremony in Melbourne on Saturday May 4.
2018 Aurealis Awards – Finalists
Relic of the Blue Dragon,
Rebecca Lim (Allen & Unwin)
Slightly Alarming Tales of the Whispering Wars, Jaclyn Moriarty (Allen &
Penni Russon (Allen & Unwin)
Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)
Ting the Ghosthunter,
Gabrielle Wang (Penguin Random House Australia)
Colter and the Narroway Hunt, Rhiannon Williams (Hardie Grant Egmont)
GRAPHIC NOVEL / ILLUSTRATED WORK
Shaun Tan (Hachette
from The Inner City,
Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin)
YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY
Robot Like Me”, Lee Cope (Mother of Invention, Twelfth Planet Press)
Moon Collector”, D K Mok (Under the Full Moon’s Light, Owl Hollow Press)
Sea-Maker of Darmid Bay”, Shauna O’Meara (Interzone #277, TTA Press)
Koan”, Anya Ow (Sword and Sonnet, Ate Bit Bear)
Weirdless Days and Weary Nights”, Deborah Sheldon (Breach #08)
HORROR SHORT STORY
Offering”, Michael Gardner (Aurealis #112)
Jason Nahrung (Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2, IFWG Publishing
Kindle Light”, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Antipodean SF #235)
and Rot”, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Breach #08)
Alfie Simpson (Breach #07)
Further Shore”, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)
Ascends”, Matthew R Davis (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep,
Things In The Well)
Rising”, David Kuraria (Cthulhu: Land of the Long White Cloud, IFWG
Black Sea”, Chris Mason (Beneath the Waves – Tales from the Deep, Things
In The Well)
Triquetra, Kirstyn McDermott (Tor.com)
This Needle I Thee Thread”, Angela Rega (Aurum, Ticonderoga