Pixel Scroll 7/3/19 These Are The Pixels That Try Men’s Scrolls

(1) IN OPINIONS YET TO COME. Brooke Bolander is the latest sff author to pen a futuristic op-ed for the New York Times.

As Tor.com puts it –

Asking “Who Should Live in Flooded Old New York?” Bolander imagines a time in which it’s illegal to live in the flooded remains of NYC, with the only residents being those who are too poor to move elsewhere. In this future, Mr. Rogers’ theme song has turned into an “old folk song,” and “draconian federal regulations” punish those remaining, while millionaires running illegal tourism schemes in the city get off scot-free.

(2) WHAT TOR LEARNED FROM LIBRARY SALES EMBARGO. Jason Sanford’s analysis, “Does library ebook lending hurt book sales? Tor Books experiment reveals answers, may lead to new ebook lending terms”, is a free post at his Patreon page. 

Sanford interviewed Fritz Foy, president and publisher of Tom Doherty Associates, the unit of Macmillan that includes Tor, who shared “an unprecedented look at their embargo test….”

…To discover if library ebook lending was indeed hurting sales, Macmillan used their Minotaur imprint as a control group and Tor Books as an experimental group. The two groups have books which sold in similar patterns along with authors and book series which drove steady sales from year to year.

For the experiment Tor prohibited ebook sales to libraries until four months after a book’s release. After that date libraries could purchase the Tor ebooks. The control group Minotaur instituted no such restriction. (As a side-note, Foy said the there was never a plan to do a six-month embargo on ebook sales to libraries, as reported in that Good e-Reader article.)

Foy was surprised by the experiment’s stark results.

“All but one title we compared (in the Tor experiment group) had higher sales after the four month embargo on ebook sales to libraries,” he said. “And the only title where we didn’t see this happen had bad reviews. And when you looked at the control group, sales remained the same.”

(3) LOTR DIRECTOR. “‘The Lord Of The Rings’: J.A. Bayona To Direct Amazon Series”Deadline has the story.

Amazon Studios’ high-profile The Lord of the Rings TV series has made a key hire. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director Juan Antonio (J.A.) Bayona has been tapped to direct the first two episodes of the big-scope fantasy drama, following in the footsteps of Peter Jackson, who directed the feature adaptations of the classic J.R.R. Tolkien novels.

…Bayona’s first feature film, critically acclaimed thriller The Orphanage, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro, premiered to a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival and later won seven Goya Awards in Spain, including best new director.

Bayona most recently directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide last year. He also directed the features The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and A Monster Calls, starring Sigourney Weaver, Liam Neeson and Felicity Jones, as well as the first two episodes of Showtime’s hit series Penny Dreadful.

(4) LOTR LOCATION. And where will the series be filmed? Probably where you’d have predicted it would if you never heard about the plan for Scotland. Yahoo! Movies reports “Scotland loses out on lucrative ‘Lord of the Rings’ shoot over ‘Brexit uncertainty’, claims new report”.

Amazon’s $1.5 billion (£1.19bn) Lord of the Rings series looks set to begin filming in New Zealand this month, after producers reportedly got cold feet about shooting in Scotland.

The NZ Herald reports that a “huge” part of the series, said to be the most expensive TV show ever made, will be produced in Auckland, specifically at the Kumeu Film Studios and Auckland Film Studios, with an official announcement coming this month. The report states that pre-production on the Amazon show has been based at the two studios for the last year.

Producers were also said to be considering Scotland as a production base, but New Zealand’s public-service radio broadcaster Radio New Zealand (Radio NZ), claims “the tumultuous Brexit situation hindered Scotland’s pitch”.

(5) RESNICK RETURNS TO FB. Mike Resnick gave Facebook readers a medical update about his frightening health news:

Sorry to be absent for a month. 4 weeks ago I was walking from one room to the next when I collapsed. Carol called the ambulance, and 2 days later I woke up in the hospital minus my large intestine. Just got home last night.

I don’t like growing old.

(6) TIDHAR PICKS BUNDLED. Storybundle announced the The 2019 World SF Bundle, curated by Lavie Tidhar:

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you’re feeling generous), you’ll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

  • Afro SF V3 by Ivor W. Hartmann
  • The Apex Book of World SF 5 by Cristina Jurado and Lavie Tidhar
  • Nexhuman by Francesco Verso
  • Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!

  • Escape from Baghdad! by Saad Z. Hossain
  • After the Flare by Deji Bryce Olukotun
  • The Thousand Year Beach by TOBI Hirotaka
  • Slipping by Lauren Beukes
  • Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson
  • The Vanishing Kind by Lavie Tidhar

This bundle is available only for a limited time.

(7) JAMES WHITE AWARD. The judges for the 2019 James White Award will be Justina Robson, Chris Beckett and Donna Scott.

The competition is open to original, unpublished short stories of not more than 6,000 words by non-professional writers. The award, established in 2000, offers non-professional writers the opportunity to have their work published in Interzone, the UK’s leading sf magazine. The deadline for submissions was June 28. The winner will be announced in August.

(8) JUMANJI. The next sequel will be in theaters at Christmas.

In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.

(9) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • July 3, 1958 Fiend Without A Face premiered.
  • July 3, 1985 Back to the Future was released.
  • July 3, 1996 Independence Day debuted in theaters.

(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born July 3, 1898 E. Hoffmann Price. He’s most readily remembered as being a Weird Tales writer, one of a group that included Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. He did a few collaborations, one of which was with H. P. Lovecraft, “Through the Gates of the Silver Key”. Another work, “The Infidel’s Daughter”, a satire on the Ku Klux Klan, also angered many Southern readers. (Died 1998.)
  • Born July 3, 1926 William Rotsler. An artist, cartoonist, pornographer and SF author. Well, that is his bio. Rotsler was a four-time Hugo Award winner for Best Fan Artist and one-time Nebula Award nominee. He also won a “Retro-Hugo” for his work in 1946 and was runner-up for 1951. He responsible for giving Uhura her first name, created “Rotsler’s Rules for Costuming”, popularized the idea fans wore propeller beanies and well, being amazing sounding. (Died 1997.)
  • Born July 3, 1927 Tim O’Connor. He was Dr. Elias Huer in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century for much of its run. Other genre appearances were on The Six Million Dollar ManThe Twilight Zone, The Outer LimitsWonder WomanKnight RiderStar Trek: The Next Generation and The Burning Zone. (Died 2018.)
  • Born July 3, 1927 Ken Russell. Altered States is his best known SF film but he’s also done The Devils, an historical horror film, and Alice in Russialand. Russell had a cameo in the film adaptation of Brian Aldiss’s novel Brothers of the Head by the directors of Lost in La Mancha. And, of course, he’s responsible for The Who’s Tommy. (Died 2012.)
  • Born July 3, 1937 Tom Stoppard, 82. Screenplay writer, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which is adjacent genre if not actually genre. Also scripted of course Brazil which he co-authored with Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeow. He also did the final Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade final rewrite of Jeffrey Boam’s rewrite of Menno Meyjes’s screenplay. And finally Shakespeare in Love which he co-authored with Marc Norman.
  • Born July 3, 1943 Kurtwood Smith, 76. Clarence Boddicker in Robocop, Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and voiced Kanjar Ro in Green Lantern: First Flight. He’s got series appearances on Blue ThunderThe Terrible ThunderlizardsThe X-FilesStar Trek: Deep Space NineStar Trek: VoyagerMen in Black: The Series3rd Rock from the SunTodd McFarlane’s Spawn, Judtice League, Batman Beyond, Green Lantern and Beware the Batman. His last role was as Vernon Masters as the superb Agent Carter.
  • Born July 3, 1962 Tom Cruise, 57. I’m reasonably sure his first genre role was as Jack in Legend. Next up was Lestat de Lioncourt in Interview with the Vampire followed by being Ethan Hunt in the first of many Mission Impossible films. Then he was John Anderton in the abysmal Minority Report followed by Ray Ferrier in the even far more abysmal War of The Worlds. I’ve not seen him as Maj. William Cage in Edge of Tomorrow so I’ve no idea how good he or the film is. Alas then Nick Morton in, oh god, The Mummy

(11) COMICS SECTION.

(12) IT DON’T PAY TO BE IGNORANT. Not on Jeopardy! as Andrew Porter witnessed tonight:

In the category American Writers, the answer was, “In a story by this sci-fi master, ‘I Sing the Body Electric!’ is the title of a pamphlet for a robot grandmother.”

Wrong questions: “Who is Isaac Asimov?” and “Who is Robert Heinlein?”

(13) AURORA AWARDS. The 2019 Aurora Awards Voter Package is online, available to members of the Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association.

The purpose of the Aurora Awards Voter Package is simple. Before you vote for the Aurora Awards this year, we want you to be able to read as much of the nominated work as possible, so you can make and informed decision about what is the best of the year. Please note: the package is only available while voting is open. Remember voting ends September 14, 2019 at 11:59:59 EDT!

The electronic versions of these Aurora Award nominated works are made available to you through the generosity of the nominees and publishers. We are grateful for their participation and willingness to share with CSFFA members. If you like what you read, please support the creators by purchasing their works, which are available in bookstores and online.

(14) EN ROUTE. John Hertz, while packing for his journey to Spikecon, paused to quote from the classics:

Farewell my friends, farewell my foes;
To distant planets Freddy goes;
To face grave perils he intends.
Farewell my foes, goodbye my friends.

(15) MORE BOOKS I HAVEN’T READ. At Tor.com, Gabriella Tutino publicized a list compiled by Reddit User einsiboy, creator of the TopRedditBooks site: “Here are the 100 Most Discussed Fantasy Books on Reddit”.  The Reddit link is here. I’ve only read 19 of these – what a disgrace!

(16) JDA REAPPLIES TO SFWA. Mary Robinette Kowal took office as SFWA’s new President at the start of the month. Jon Del Arroz says his latest application for membership is already in her inbox: “A New Dawn For SFWA!” [Internet Archive link].

Things are changing at SFWA as my friend Mary Robinette Kowal has been installed as president, after I endorsed her candidacy early on.

…As she has featured my books on her blog not once, but twice, I know that Ms. Kowal’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is important to her, and she will be doing everything she can to change the perception that SFWA is a place where Conservatives and Christians are not welcome to be called professional authors.

As such, I have reapplied to SFWA as of yesterday, and let Ms. Kowal know, so we can begin the long journey of working together to ensure equality for Conservative and Christian authors. I’ve offered my services as an ambassador to the community, so she will directly be able to hear the grievances of such authors who have been treated as second class citizens — dare I say, 3/5ths of a professional author — for so long now within the science fiction community.

(17) VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE INTERNET. Shades of Cryptonomicon. Futurism.com thinks that the “Russian Sub That Caught Fire Possibly Sent to Cut Internet Cables”

Fire Down Below

On Monday, a Russian submarine caught fire during a mission, killing 14 sailors on board.

But the public didn’t find out about the incident until the next day, when Russia finally released a statement about the accident — though two days after the event, the nation still wouldn’t say exactly what kind of sub caught fire or whether it was nuclear-powered.

A possible reason for Russia’s caginess? Multiple sources are now claiming the sub was an AS-12 “Losharik,” a nuclear-powered submarine some speculate was designed to cut the undersea cables that deliver internet to the world.

(18) FOUR FOR THE FOURTH. For the holiday, James Davis Nicoll has lined up “4 SF Works Featuring a Far-Future U.S.A.” at Tor.com.

In Joe and Jack C. Haldeman’s There Is No Darkness, English is an obscure language, spoken only on backwater worlds and a few places on Earth. We don’t know exactly when the book takes place, as year zero has been set to the founding of the (future) Confederacion. We are told the year is A.C. 354.

What we see of a future Texas suggests that it’s still as recognizably American as Justinian’s Constantinople would have been recognizably Roman. While the region seems a bit down at heel, it’s also one of the more optimistic takes on a future America.

(19) SCALZI GIVEAWAY. Or maybe Christmas will come early and you can read this:

(20) IF IT E-QUACKS LIKE A DUCK. Thomas has found a place where “Robots Replace Ducks in Rice Paddy Fields”.

Aigamo is a Japanese farming method that uses ducks to keep unwanted plants and parasites out of rice paddy fields. This duck crossbreed is able to keep the paddy clear without the use of herbicides or pesticides, and the fowls’ waste actually works as a pretty good fertilizer.  

The method was first introduced in the 16th century but soon fell out of favor. It wasn’t reintroduced as a natural farming method until 1985 and it quickly became popular across the country as well as in China, Iran, France, and other countries. 

About 15 ducks can keep a 1,000-square-meter area clear of insects, worms, and weeds, and they even enrich the water with oxygen by constantly stirring up the soil. But as humans are prone to do, an engineer from Nissan Motor, needed to build a better mousetrap, although this one may not have too many beating down a path to his door. 

Created as a side project, the Aigamo Robot looks less like its namesake and more like a white, floating Roomba with eyes. While the ducks can be trained to patrol specific areas, the robot employs Wi-Fi and GPS to help the robot stir up the soil and keep bugs at bay, though no word yet on how much ground it can cover in a single day. 

(21) SPIDER TO THE FLIER. Have you seen “United–Fly Like a Superhero” on YouTube? The Spider-Man version of the United Airlines safety video? Too bad it’s not as much fun as the Air New Zealand hobbit videos.

(22) STRANGE VIDEO OF THE DAY. In “9 Ways To Draw A Person” on Vimeo, Sasha Svirsky offers a strange video that doesn’t actually tell you how to draw a person.

[Thanks to Mike Kennedy, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Jason Sanford, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Daniel Dern, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, Greg Hullender, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day rcade.]

Pixel Scroll 6/3/19 This Is My Pixel And This Is My Scroll! One Is For Filing, The Other I LOL!

(1) RED MOON RISING. “Apple Publishes “For All Mankind” Apple TV+ Trailer” at MacStories.

What if the space race had never ended? Watch an official first look at For All Mankind, an Apple Original drama series coming this Fall to Apple TV+. Get notified when Apple TV+ premieres on the Apple TV app: http://apple.co/_AppleTVPlus For All Mankind is created by Emmy® Award winner Ronald D. Moore (Outlander, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica), Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi. Told through the lives of NASA astronauts, engineers and their families, For All Mankind presents an aspirational world where NASA and the space program remained a priority and a focal point of our hopes and dreams.

(2) TRACING THE MCU. In “+” at the Los Angeles Review of Books, University of Southern California cinema professor J.D. Connor has an exhaustive and highly quotable analysis of the MCU.

…Still, Feige has been utterly judicious about when and how to push. Over the years, fans (and others) have pushed for a less white, less male MCU, and Feige (and others) have managed to create an underdiscourse, in which the limits of the MCU’s representational efforts stem not from his convictions but rather from constraints placed on his own fandom by longtime Marvel head Ike Perlmutter and conservative forces on what was called the “Marvel Creative Committee.” Feige was able to get Perlmutter and the committee out of his way in 2015, and the next four films out of the pipeline would be developed, written, shot, and edited without their input. It’s no surprise that those four films happen to be the “boldest Marvel has ever made”: Guardians 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.

Here the crucial installment is Black Panther, which seemed to prove that the whole machine could just as easily work based on African diaspora superheroes, with departments largely headed by women of color. Black Panther offers a vision of merit deferred. In place of lamentations about the empty pipeline, here was a movie that suggested, convincingly, that the representational revolution was at hand and only required Hollywood certification. The industry was clearly ready to endorse that vision of incremental revolution, giving Oscars to both Ruth E. Carter (Costume) and Hannah Beachler (Production Design). Those two, along with an award for Black Panther’s score, were the MCU’s first wins.

This story — from foundation and expansion to confidence and representation — has been emerging within the MCU. At the end of Endgame, Tony Stark is dead, Steve Rogers is old, and Thor has a new home among the more ridiculous and sentimental Guardians of the Galaxy. Replacing the foundational three white dudes are Captain Marvel, a new Captain America, and Black Panther….

(3) IRON MANTLE. The Spider-Man: Far From Home Chinese Trailer inspires a SYFY Wire writer to theorize about the MCU’s future —

…The world is definitely asking “who is going to be the next Iron Man?” Captain America has promoted Falcon. Who’s taking up Iron Man’s robotic mantle? With Spidey debuting multiple new suits in the film (and in the trailer, where fans can see the black stealth suit swing), this could be Peter Parker’s time to shine as the MCU moves into a new Phase.

(4) MONSTROSITY. Leonard Maltin really unloads on “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”.

Two hours wasted: that’s how I feel after watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This bloated production starts out as an enjoyably tacky monster movie but doesn’t know when to quit. Every pseudo-scientific explanation (and there are plenty) has a counter-explanation in order to keep the story going…and every apparent climax leads to another climax. There’s even a post-credits scene, as if we needed one. We don’t….

(5) THAT CAT KNOWS WHAT HE’S ABOUT. So perhaps it’s just as well that Camestros Felapton was duped into seeing the Elton John biopic instead — Rocketcat.

[Timothy the Talking Cat] You see? You see? I totally tricked you.
[Camestros Felapton] Hmmm
[Tim] You thought we were going to go and see Godzilla but we actually went to see Rocketman.
[CF] That’s OK. I enjoyed the film.
[Tim] But admit that I totally tricked you….

(6) RETRO SPECIAL EFFECTS. Lots of sff GIFs here, beginning with a load of flying saucer movie clips, at Raiders of the Lost Tumblr.

(7) MORE AURORA AWARDS NEWS. Voting for the Aurora Awards will begin on August 3, 2019. Click here to visit the public ballot page.

The Aurora Voters Package will be available for CSFFA members to download later this month.

Both the voters package and the ballot close at 11:59 pm EDT on September 14, 2018.

(8) NEW TITLE FOR GRRM. ComicsBeat has learned “George R.R. Martin Has a New World to Explore in Meow Wolf”.

Looks like George R. R. Martin is taking his epic world-building skills to Meow Wolf, the Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment collective behind the House of Eternal Return and other next-gen immersive and interactive exhibitions. The Game of Thrones creator has been named new Chief World Builder and will bring his “unparalleled storytelling skills to the multiverse” of Meow Wolf by working with key members of the collective to “advise on building narrative and mind-bending ideas” that will yield “ambitious immersive installations.”

This isn’t Martin’s first time working with Meow Wolf. The Santa Fe resident helped secure the local bowling alley that is now the House of Eternal Return attraction and entertainment complex. The attraction displays a multidimensional mystery house of secret passages and surreal tableaus featuring Meow Wolf’s artists, architects, and designers, as well as a learning center, cafe, music venue, bar, and outdoor dining scene.

(9) COME HOME. Disney dropped a new trailer for The Lion King that features Beyonce.

(10) DARROW OBIT. BBC reports “Blake’s 7 actor Paul Darrow dies at 78”.

British actor Paul Darrow, best known for his role as Kerr Avon in sci-fi BBC TV series Blake’s 7, has died at the age of 78 following a short illness.

Most recently, Darrow voiced soundbites for independent radio stations Jack FM and Union Jack, where he was known as the “Voice of Jack”.

The character of Avon was second-in-command on Blake’s 7, which ran for four series between 1978 and 1981.

Darrow shared a flat with John Hurt and Ian McShane while studying at Rada.

While best-known for his Blake’s 7 role, he appeared in more than 200 television shows, including Doctor Who, The Saint, Z Cars, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks and Little Britain.

(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born June 3, 1905 Norman A. Daniels. Writer working initially in pulp magazines, later on radio and television. He created the Black Bat pulp hero and wrote for such series as The Avengers, The Phantom Detective and The Shadow. He has three non-series novels, The Lady Is a Witch, Spy Slave and Voodoo Lady. To my surprise, iBooks and Kindle has a Black Bat Omnibus available! In addition, iBooks has the radio show. (Died 1995.)
  • Born June 3, 1931 John Norman. 86. Gor, need I say more? I could say both extremely sexist and badly written but that goes without saying. They are to this day both extremely popular being akin to earlier pulp novels, though argue the earlier pulp novels by and large were more intelligent than these are. Not content to have one such series, he wrote the Telnarian Histories which also has female slaves. No, not one of my favourite authors. 
  • Born June 3, 1946 Penelope Wilton, 73. She played the recurring role of Harriet Jones in Doctor Who, an unusual thing for the show as they developed a story for the character. She was also played Homily in The Borrowers, Barbara in Shaun of the Dead, The Queen in Roald Dahl’s The BFG, Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Beatrix Potter, The White Queen in Through the Looking-Glass and Gertrude in in Hamlet at the Menier Chocolate Factory. 
  • Born June 3, 1950 Melissa Mathison. Screenwriter who worked with Spielberg on  E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTwilight Zone: The Movie and BFG, the latter being the last script she did before dying of cancer. She also did The Indian in the Cupboard which wasdirected by Frank Oz. (Died 2015.)
  • Born June 3, 1958 Suzie Plakson, 61. She played four characters on Trek series: a Vulcan, Doctor Selar, in “The Schizoid Man” (Next Gen); the half-Klingon/half-human Ambassador K’Ehleyr in “The Emissary” and “Reunion” (Next Gen); the Lady Q in “The Q and the Grey” (Voyager); and an Andorian, Tarah, in “Cease Fire” (Enterprise).  She also voiced Amazonia in the “Amazon Women in the Mood” episode of Futurama. Really. Truly.
  • Born June 3, 1964 James Purefoy, 55. His most recent genre performance was as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon. His most impressive was as Solomon Kane in the film of that name. He was also in A Knight’s Tale as Edward, the Black Prince of Wales/Sir Thomas Colville. He dropped out of being V in V for Vendetta some six weeks into shooting but some early scenes of the masked V are of him.
  • Born June 3, 1973 Patrick Rothfuss, 46. He is best known for the Kingkiller Chronicle series, which won him several awards, including the 2007 Quill Award for his first novel, The Name of the Wind. Before The Name of the Wind was released, an excerpt from the novel was released as a short story titled “The Road to Levinshir” and it won the Writers of the Future contest in 2002.

(12) THE FUNGI THEY HAD. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Over the weekend, RadioLab rebroadcast a fascinating September 2016 podcast, From Tree To Shining Tree, discussing the various ways that trees intercommunicate, along with the discovery of an intense fungi-based underground network (hence my item title).

Related recommended reading (I don’t know if they mentioned it in the show, we tuned in after it was underway, but I’d happened upon it in my public library’s New Books, when it came out, and borrowed’n’read it then), The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate?Discoveries From A Secret World by Peter Wohlleben

(Perhaps Greg Bear could be inspired by these, and do Sap Music as a sequel to Blood Music?

(13) KEEPING THE SHIP IN STARSHIP. James Davis Nicoll rigs up a post about “Light Sails in Science and Fiction” at Tor.com.

…Possibly the reason that light sails took a while to become popular tropes is that the scientifically-clued-in authors who would have been aware of the light sail possibility would also have known just how minuscule light sail accelerations would be. They might also have realized that it would be computationally challenging to predict light sail trajectories and arrival times. One-g-forever rockets may be implausible, but at least working how long it takes them to get from Planet A to Planet B is straightforward. Doing the same for a vehicle dependent on small variable forces over a long, long time would be challenging.

Still, sailing ships in space are fun, so it’s not surprising that some authors have featured them in their fiction. Here are some of my favourites…

(14) IRONMAN ONE. The Space Review salutes the 50th anniversary of Marooned, the movie adaptation of Martin Caidin’s book, in “Saving Colonel Pruett”.

In this 50th anniversary year of the first Apollo lunar landing missions, we can reflect not only on those missions but also on movies, including the reality-based, technically-oriented space movies of that era, that can educate as well as entertain and inspire. One of those is Marooned, the story of three NASA astronauts stranded in low Earth orbit aboard their Apollo spacecraft, call-sign Ironman One—all letters, no numbers, and painted right on the command module (CM), a practice NASA had abandoned by 1965. They were the first crew of Ironman, the world’s first space station, the renovated upper stage of a Saturn rocket as planned for the Apollo Applications Program, predecessor of Skylab….

(15) GHIBLI PARK. “Studio Ghibli Park Set to Open in Japan in 2022”The Hollywood Reporter has the story.

Japanese anime hit factory Studio Ghibli is to open a theme park in 2022 in cooperation with the local Aichi Prefecture government and the Chunichi Shimbun newspaper company.

Plans for the “Ghibli Park,” which will occupy 494 acres (200 hectares) in Nagakute City, Aichi, were first announced around this time in 2017, when the local government said it was looking for other commercial partners.

…According to the three companies, three areas — Youth Hill, partly based on Howl’s Moving Castle; Dondoko Forest, based on My Neighbor Totoro; and a Great Ghibli Warehouse — are set to open in fall 2022. A Mononoke Village, based on Princess Mononoke, and a Valley of the Witch area, themed on both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle, are set to open a year later

(16) ANOTHER YANK OF THE CHAIN. Fast Company finds that once again “The P in IHOP doesn’t stand for what you think it stands for”. (Really, at moments like this I think it’s a darned shame I don’t monetize this site.)

…The IHOB campaign got the brand more than 42 billion media impressions worldwide, and immediately quadrupled the company’s burger sales. Now a year later, with burger sales still humming along at double their pre-IHOB numbers, the brand is trying to once again to catch advertising lightning in a (butter pecan) bottle.

Last week, the diner chain announced that it would have an announcement today, relating to its name, aiming once again for the same social-media chatter that debated its burgers last time around. A lot of those people last year scolded IHOP for venturing beyond pancakes. Now the brand is having a bit of fun with that idea–and the definition of a pancake.

“This year we listened to the internet and are sticking to what we do best, which is pancakes,” says IHOP CMO Brad Haley. “We’re just now calling our steak burgers pancakes. We contacted some of the people who told us to stick to pancakes last year for this year’s campaign, so the trolls have teed up the new campaign quite nicely.”

(17) DO CHEATERS EVER PROSPER? NPR’s Caitlyn Paxson says“Cheating Death Will Cost You In ‘The Wise And The Wicked'”.

In this tale of a family with dark secrets and divinatory gifts, Lambda Literary Award winner Rebecca Podos ponders the inevitable question: If you can read the future that lies ahead, do you also have the power to change it?

When Ruby Chernyavsky hit her teen years, she had a premonition — a vision of the moments leading up to her death. Knowing her “Time” was something she always expected, since all of the women in her family forsee their own, but what none of them know is that Ruby’s days are numbered. Her Time is her 18th birthday, so in a little over a year, she’ll be dead….

(18) PLAYING FOR KEEPS. This is what happens when you trimble your kipple: “Long-lost Lewis Chessman found in Edinburgh family’s drawer”.

A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London.

The Lewis Chessmen are among the biggest draws at the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

They are seen as an “important symbol of European civilisation” and have also seeped into popular culture, inspiring everything from children’s show Noggin The Nog to part of the plot in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.

(19) TOTALLY TONOPAH. Kevin Standlee promotes the Tonopah in 2021 Westercon bid in an interview about the proposed facility:

Tonopah in 2021 chair Kevin Standlee interviews Mizpah Hotel supervisor Rae Graham and her wife (and Mizpah Club staffer) Kayla Brosius about the Mizpah Hotel, what they think about how Tonopah would welcome a Westercon, and how they think the convention would fit with the hotel.

 The bid’s webpage also has a lot of new information about hotels and restaurants in Tonopah. Standlee says, “A new hotel just opened up adding another 60 rooms to the town, including more handicapped-accessible/roll-in-shower rooms, for example.”

Standlee and Lisa Hayes took a lot of photos while they were in Tonopah, now added to their Flickr album — including pictures of the unexpected late-May snow. Kevin admits:

I’d be very surprised by snow in July, but they schedule their big annual town-wide event for Memorial Day because it should neither be snowy or hot, and they instead got four inches of snow on their rodeo. Fortunately, it mostly all melted by the next morning.

Memorial Day Snow in Tonopah
Unhappy Bear
Kuma Bear is grumpy that he’s all covered in snow after Lisa and Kevin went out for a walk in Tonopah when it was snowing.

[Thanks to Michael Toman, John King Tarpinian, Daniel Dern, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, John Hertz, Kevin Standlee, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip Williams.]

2019 Aurora Award Ballot

The 2019 Aurora Awards finalists have been announced. The awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, for Science Fiction / Fantasy works done in 2018 by Canadians. The top five nominated works were selected.  Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place. The awards ceremony will be held at Can-Con 2019, October 18-20, in Ottawa.

Best Novel

  • Armed in Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield, ChiZine Publications
  • Graveyard Mind by Chadwick Ginther, ChiZine Publications
  • One of Us by Craig DiLouie, Orbit
  • The Quantum Magician by Derek Künsken, Solaris Books and Analog Science Fiction and Fact
  • They Promised Me The Gun Wasn’t Loaded by James Alan Gardner, Tor
  • Witchmark by C. L. Polk, Tor.com Publications

Best Young Adult Novel

  • Children of the Bloodlands: The Realms of Ancient, Book 2 by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
  • Cross Fire: An Exo Novel by Fonda Lee, Scholastic Press
  • Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks by ‘Nathan Burgoine, Bold Strokes Books
  • Finding Atlantis by J.M. Dover, Evil Alter Ego Press
  • Legacy of Light by Sarah Raughley, Simon Pulse
  • The Emerald Cloth by Clare C Marshall, Faery Ink Press
  • The Sign of Faust by Éric Desmarais, Renaissance Press
  • Timefall by Alison Lohans, Five Rivers Publishing

Best Short Fiction

  • “A Hold Full of Truffles” by Julie E. Czerneda, Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
  • “Alice Payne Arrives” by Kate Heartfield, Tor.com Publications
  • “Critical Mass” by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
  • “For A Rich Man to Enter” by Susan Forest, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Issue 62
  • “Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach” by Kelly Robson, Tor.com Publications

Best Graphic Novel

  • Crash and Burn by Finn Lucullan and Kate Larking, Astres Press
  • FUTILITY: Orange Planet Horror by Rick Overwater and Cam Hayden, Coffin Hop Press
  • It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
  • Krampus Is My Boyfriend! by S.M. Beiko, Webcomic
  • Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal, Drawn and Quarterly

Best Poem/Song

  • “Echos” by Shannon Allen, By the Light of Camelot, EDGE
  • “How My Life Will End” by Vanessa Cardui, Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders, Laksa Media
  • “Osiris” by Leah Bobet, Uncanny Magazine
  • “Trips to Impossible Cities” by Sandra Kasturi, Amazing Stories Magazine, issue #2, Winter 2018
  • “Ursula Le Guin in the Underworld” by Sarah Tolmie, On Spec issue 107 vol 28.4

Best Related Work

  • By the Light of Camelot edited by J. R. Campbell and Shannon Allen, EDGE 
  • Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, Uncanny Magazine
  • Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales of Sherlock Holmes edited by J. R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, EDGE 
  • Shades Within Us: Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
  • We Shall Be Monsters: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 200 years on edited by Derek Newman-Stille, Renaissance Press

Best Visual Presentation

  • Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi , Pixar Animation Studios
  • Deadpool 2, written and produced by Ryan Reynolds, Twentieth Century Fox
  • Murdoch Mysteries, 2018 episodes, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films
  • Travelers, Season 3, Brad Wright, Carrie Mudd, John G. Lenic, and Eric McCormack, Peacock Alley Entertainment
  • Wynonna Earp, Season 3, Emily Andras, Seven24 Films Calgary

Best Artist

  • Lily Author, cover art for Polar Borealis Magazine #8, Dragon Lab
  • Samantha M. Beiko, covers for Laksa Media
  • James F. Beveridge, cover art for Tyche books
  • Roger Czerneda, cover for Tales from Plexis, DAW Books
  • Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press
  • Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, cartoons for Amazing Stories Magazine 

Best Fan Writing and Publications

  • Adios Cowboy, Adam Shaftoe
  • Books and Tea, Christina Vasilevski
  • Constructing the Future, Derek Newman-Stille, Uncanny Magazine
  • Mars vs. Titan, Ron S. Friedman, Quora
  • She Wrote It But…Revisiting Joanna Russ’ “How to Suppress Women’s Writing” 35 Years Later, Krista D. Ball
  • Travelling TARDIS, Jen Desmarais, JenEric Designs

Best Fan Organizational

  • Sandra Kasturi, chair Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Toronto
  • Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, co-chairs, Can*Con, Ottawa
  • Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
  • Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work

  • S.M. Beiko and Clare C. Marshall, Business BFFs (Podcast)
  • Kari Maaren, ChiSeries Toronto, monthly musical performances
  • Joshua Pantalleresco, Just Joshing (Podcast)
  • Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada
  • Edward Willett, The Worldshapers (Podcast)

[Thanks to Clifford Samuels for the story.]

Prix Aurora-Boréal 2019 Finalists

Finalists for the Prix Aurora/Boréal 2019 were announced April 16.

The awards will be presented at Congrès Boréal 2019 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.

Here are the works on the shortlist:

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur roman (Best novel)

  • Meynard, Yves : Chrysanthe t. 1 La princesse perdue (Alire)
  • Rousseau, Simon : La Reine des neiges (ADA)
  • Sylvain, Stéphanie : Le roi des ombres (Numeriklivres)
  • Vadnais, Christiane : Faunes (ALTO)
  • Vonarburg, Élisabeth : Les Pierres et les Roses. Tome 1, 2 et 3 (Alire)

Prix Aurora-Boréal – Meilleure nouvelle en français (Best short story in French)

  • Adam, Raphaëlle B. : La femme qui soupirait (Brins d’éternité 49)
  • Blouin, Geneviève : L’épée et le templier (La République du centaure)
  • Blouin, Geneviève : La gang du cimetière (Brins d’éternité 50)
  • Dagenais, Luc : La déferlante des Mères (Solaris 207)
  • Voisine, Guillaume : Le hurlement des possibles (Brins d’éternité 50)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleure bande dessinée (Best Comic Book)

  • Cab : Hiver Nucléair t.3 (Front froid)
  • Cab / Lenoir, Axelle : Esprit du camp t.2 (Studio Lounak)
  • Laliberté, Jean-François / Lefebvre, Sacha : U-Merlin (Michel Quintin)
  • Paré-Sorel, Julien : Aventurosaure (Presses aventure)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur ouvrage connexe (Best related work)

  • Blouin, Geneviève : Critiques (Solaris 205, 206, 207, 208)
  • Brins d’éternité 49, 50, 51 (Ariane Gélinas, Alamo St-Jean et Guillaume Voisine, direction)
  • Côté, Dave : Nés comme ça (Les Six Brumes)
  • Gaudet-Labine, Isabelle : Nous rêvions de robots (La Peuplade)
  • La République du Centaure (Alain Ducharme, coordonateur)

Prix Boréal – Création artistique visuelle et audiovisuelle (Best audiovisual artistic creation)

  • Beausoleil, Yanick A. : Illustrations (couverture de Les Éventails du Temps, Tome 1- Le Rat)
  • Blanché, Pascal : Illustrations (Brins d’éternité 50)
  • Léger, Émilie : Illustrations (Solaris 205, Brins d’éternité 50, couverture de Chrysanthe 1. La Princesse perdue.)
  • Rolando, Cyril : Illustrations (Brins d’éternité 51)
  • Sybiline : Illustrations (Brins d’éternité 49)

Prix Boréal – Fanédition (Fan work)

Dave Duncan (1933-2018)

Canadian sff author Dave Duncan passed away October 29 after sustaining a brain hemorrhage in a fall.

Originally from Scotland, Duncan lived all his adult life in Western Canada. He worked as a geological consultant until at age 53 he made the transition to full-time professional writer.

Duncan was a prolific novelist who wrote both fantasy and science fiction, although he said, “I always regret that my SF books are less popular than my Fantasy. SF actually takes more work to write!”

His best-known fantasy series included “The Seventh Sword,” “A Man of His Word,” and “The King’s Blades.”

He sold his sixtieth book this year – the science fiction novel Pillar of Darkness.

He won two Aurora Awards, for his novels West of January (1990) and Children of Chaos (2007).

He was an eight-time nominee for the Endeavour Award, given for a distinguished science fiction or fantasy book by a writer living in the Pacific Northwest.

Duncan was both a founding and an honorary lifetime member of SF Canada, the country’s association for speculative fiction professionals. He was inducted into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2015.

He is survived by his wife, Janet, whom he married in 1959, and by their son, two daughters, and four grandchildren

[Thanks to Susan Forest for the story.]

2009 Endeavour Award finalists Kay Kenyon and Dave Duncan with award committee member Page Fuller.

2018 Aurora Awards

The 2018 Aurora Award winners were announced at VCON 42 on October 6.

The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Eligible were “works done in 2017 by Canadians.”

Best Novel

  • Jade City by Fonda Lee, Orbit

Best Young Adult Novel (Tie)

  • Exo by Fonda Lee, Scholastic Press
  • Houses of the Old Blood by Elizabeth Whitton, Kettlescon Press

Best Short Fiction

  • Gone Flying by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, Laksa Media

Best Graphic Novel

  • Rock Paper Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, Webcomic

Best Poem/Song

  • Heaven Is The Hell Of No Choices by Matt Moore, Polar Borealis #4

Best Related Work

  • The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media

Best Visual Presentation

  • Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve, Alcon Entertainment

Best Artist

  • Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Best Fan Writing and Publications

  • Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational

  • Randy McCharles, chair When Words Collide, Calgary

Best Fan Related Work

  • Joshua Pantalleresco, Just Joshing (Podcast)

Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association #CSFFA Hall of Fame inductees

  • Dr. Jaymie Matthews (UBC Dept. of Astronomy)
  • Candas Jane Dorsey
  • Robert Charles Wilson

[Via Robin Shantz.]

2018 Aurora Awards Nominees

The 2018 Aurora Awards nominees have been announced.

The Aurora Awards are nominated by members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association. Eligible were “works done in 2017 by Canadians.” The top five nominated works were selected. Additional works were included where there was a tie for fifth place.

The awards ceremony will be held at VCON 42, October 5-7, 2018, in Richmond, BC (www.vcon.ca).

Best Novel

  • All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner, Tor Books
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee, Orbit
  • Light of a Distant Sun by Brent Nichols, Bundoran Press
  • The Rebel (Book 3 of the San Angeles Series) by Gerald Brandt, DAW Books
  • RecipeArium by Costi Gurgu, White Cat Publications
  • To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda, DAW Books

Best Young Adult Novel

  • Exo by Fonda Lee, Scholastic Press
  • Houses of the Old Blood by Elizabeth Whitton, Kettlescon Press
  • Maddie Hatter and the Gilded Gauge by Jayne Barnard, Tyche Books
  • Scion of the Fox by S.M. Beiko, ECW Press
  • The West Woods by Suzy Vadori, Evil Alter Ego Press

Best Short Fiction

  • A Human Stain by Kelly Robson, Tor.com
  • The Calling by Elizabeth Grotkowski, Enigma Front: The Monster Within, Analemma Books
  • Gone Flying by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound, Laksa Media
  • Old Souls by Fonda Lee, Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Laksa Media
  • Rose’s Arm by Calvin D. Jim, Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Laksa Media

Best Graphic Novel

  • SIGNAL Saga #0: PanGaea and the Key of Mirrari by Dominic Bercier, Mirror Comics Studios
  • Rock Paper Cynic by Peter Chiykowski, Webcomic
  • Honey Dill by Ryan Harby, Webcomic
  • Crash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, Astres Press
  • It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
  • Riftworld Legends, #1-4 by Jonathan Williams, Daniel Wong, and Paris Alleyne, Joe Books

Best Poem/Song

  • After Midnight by David Clink, Tesseracts 20 (Compostela), EDGE
  • The Canadian Small-Town Denizen and the Distant-Planet Space Traveller by J.J. Steinfeld, 49th Parallels, Bundoran Press
  • Card by Catherine Girczyc, Tesseracts 20 (Compostela), EDGE
  • Cruising Glaciers by Rhea Rose, 49th Parallels, Bundoran Press
  • Heaven Is The Hell Of No Choices by Matt Moore, Polar Borealis #4
  • Meat Puppets by Lynne Sargent, Polar Borealis #4
  • Shadows in the Mist by Lee F. Patrick, Polar Borealis #4

Best Related Work

  • 49th Parallels edited by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
  • Compostela (Tesseracts 20) edited by Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardner, EDGE
  • Enigma Front: The Monster Within edited by Renée Bennett, Analemma Books
  • On Spec Magazine, The Copper Pig Writers Society
  • The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
  • Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Lucas K. Law and Derwin Mak, Laksa Media

Best Visual Presentation

  • Blade Runner 2049 directed by Denis Villeneuve, Alcon Entertainment
  • Dark Matter, Season 3, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures
  • Killjoys, Season 3, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions
  • Orphan Black, Season 5, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
  • Travelers, Season 2, Brad Wright, Carrie Mudd, John G. Lenic, and Eric McCormack, Peacock Alley Entertainment
  • Wynonna Earp, Season 2, Emily Andras, Seven24 Films Calgary

Best Artist

  • Samantha M. Beiko, covers for Laksa Media
  • Ann Crowe, cover art for Avians
  • Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, A Rivet of Robots: Body of Work
  • Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press
  • Fiona Staples, art for Saga comic series

Best Fan Writing and Publications

  • Reflections on Community and Gender in Canadian SFF, Krista D. Ball
  • Travelling TARDIS, Jennifer Desmarais, JenEric Designs
  • Science literacy for Science Fiction Readers and Writers, Ron S. Friedman, Quora
  • Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille
  • WARP edited by Cathy Palmer-Lister, Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (MonSFFA)

Best Fan Organizational

  • Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, executive, Can*Con, Ottawa
  • Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, Nicole Lavigne and Brandon Crilly, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
  • Randy McCharles, chair When Words Collide, Calgary
  • Hope Nicholson, chair Prairie Comics Festival, Winnipeg
  • Sandra Wickham, chair Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work

  • S.M. Beiko and Clare C. Marshall, Business BFFs (Podcast)
  • Kari Maaren, Monthly Musical Performances at ChiSeries Toronto
  • Kraken Not Stirred, Robots vs. Monsters (musical album)
  • Joshua Pantalleresco, Just Joshing (Podcast)
  • Steve Swanson, Poster for When Words Collide

Prix Aurora/Boréal 2018 Winners

The Prix Aurora/Boréal 2018 were presented this weekend at Congrès Boréal 2018 in Montreal, in Canada.

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur roman (Best novel)

  • Georges, Karoline: De synthèse (Alto)

Prix Aurora-Boréal – Meilleure nouvelle en français (Best short story in French)

  • Côté, Philippe-Aubert: La nuit aux trois démons (Les Six Brumes)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleure bande dessinée (Best Comic Book)

  • Desharnais, Francis/Val Mo: Le seigneur de Saint-Rock (Front Froid)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur ouvrage connexe (Best related work)

  • Trudel, Jean-Louis: Petit Guide de la science-fiction au Québec (Alire)

Prix Boréal – Création artistique visuelle et audiovisuelle (Best audiovisual artistic creation)

  • Villeneuve, Denis: Blade Runner 2049 (film)

Prix Boréal – Fanédition (Fan work)

Pixel Scroll 5/6/18 If Pixels Were Zombies, They’d Want To Eat Your Scrolls

(1) CASTING CALL. James Davis Nicoll wants young people for his next project.

I am looking for volunteers for the follow up to Young People Read Old SFF, Young People Listen to Old SF. Participants will get to listen to and react to one moderate length olden timey radio drama per month.

DM me or email me at jdnicoll at panix dot com

(2) NEEDS A PURPOSE. Abigail Nussbaum returns to China Miéville in her latest column “A Political History of the Future: The City & The City” at Lawyers, Guns & Money.

…Introducing a premise like The City & The City without tying it into current political issues feels like a much less tenable proposition right now. And yet this is what the BBC did in its recent miniseries adaptation of the book. As an adaptation, the miniseries is dutiful but not very exciting. It does a good job of transposing the book’s technique, of slowly revealing its setting until we finally realize that there is nothing going on except a mass delusion, to a more visual medium. In one particularly memorable scene, Borlú and his assistant, Lizbyet Corwi, speak on their cellphones, he from Ul Qoma and she in Bes?el. The camera cuts between them as we’d expect from any TV series trying to convey that two characters are in different physical spaces. Then it pulls back to reveal that Borlú and Corwi are sitting on the same bench, which is half in one city and half in the other. The series also does a good job of beefing up the roles of women, giving Corwi more to do, changing the gender of Borlú’s Ul Qoman counterpart, and even giving her a wife. (A similar impetus might have been at the root of a new subplot involving the disappearance of Borlú’s wife, but it just ends up reading like the common trope of motivating a man by having a woman suffer.)

Still, one has to wonder why you’d even try to adapt this novel, at this moment in time, if you weren’t willing to change it enough so that it actually says something…

(3) WHEN YOU CARE ENOUGH. Just came across this today. As we say around here, it’s always news to someone. From Know Your Meme.

(4) 2001 RETURNING TO THEATERS. The director of Dunkirk finds more use for 70 mm projectors installed to show his film: “Christopher Nolan returns Kubrick sci-fi masterpiece ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to its original glory”.

Christopher Nolan wants to show me something interesting. Something beautiful and exceptional, something that changed his life when he was a boy.

It’s also something that Nolan, one of the most accomplished and successful of contemporary filmmakers, has persuaded Warner Bros. to share with the world both at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and then in theaters nationwide, but in a way that boldly deviates from standard practice.

For what is being cued up in a small, hidden-away screening room in an unmarked building in Burbank is a brand new 70-mm reel of film of one of the most significant and influential motion pictures ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science-fiction epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Yes, you read that right. Not a digital anything, an actual reel of film that was for all intents and purposes identical to the one Nolan saw as a child and Kubrick himself would have looked at when the film was new half a century ago.

(5) NEW SFF MAGAZINE. The inaugural issue of Vulture Bones: Spec Fic from Trans & Enby Voices is out. See the table of contents here.

Vulture Bones is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine showcasing the voices of transgender and nonbinary writers.

Vulture Bones is what is left when everything useful is harvested, even the gamey meat of scavengers.

Vulture Bones is the name of a bald and genderless sharpshooter with thirteen enemies and one bullet left.

Vulture Bones is something morbid and foundational.

Vulture Bones is a wild ride.

(6) STAFFCON. Kevin Standlee takes you inside the room where it happened this weekend – “StaffCon”.

“StaffCon” for Worldcon 76 planning had over 100 people registered, using the same RegOnline system that the convention itself is using. Today was a chance to do a bit of a dry run of what on-site registration would be like, and to discover some bugs now while there is a chance to adjust them and make things better for the actual convention. After the initial morning session, there were numerous impromptu meetings (including a short WSFS division meeting with the four members of the division who are actually here), followed by groups touring the San Jose Convention Center. There’s an event moving in today, so we couldn’t get at everything, but everyone got a decently good look around before the lunch break. The break allowed people to spread out and find places to get lunch within a short distance of the convention center. There are many such places (far more than there were sixteen years ago).

(7) GET FINALISTS TO THE WORLDCON. The GoFundMe to bring Campbell Award finalist Rivers Solomon to Worldcon 76 reached its goal, and now additional money is being raised to help get more Hugo and Campbell finalists to the ceremony. Mary Robinette Kowal wrote in an Update:

Folks, we’ve got two additional Campbell finalists who could use a boost getting to the Hugos. I’ve got a form set up for additional finalists.

Let’s see how many we can get to the ceremony.

Need help? The link to the application is in Update #2.

(8) GOLLANCZ OBIT & KERFUFFLE. A trade publication’s obituary about Livia Gollancz (1920-2018), who once ran UK publisher Gollancz, a major publisher and now imprint of sf, got pushback from the imprint’s current editor.

For anyone under 40, Gollancz is merely a science fiction imprint—“the oldest specialist sci-fi and fantasy (SFF) publisher in the UK.” Gollancz indeed published many award-winning and successful SFF authors, J G Ballard and Terry Pratchett among them, but Gollancz is far more important than that, which makes the story of its last two decades a tragedy.

Victor Gollancz, a classics graduate from Oxford, was just 30 when he set up his eponymous company in 1927. He published George Orwell’s The Road to Wigan Pier, and Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim, as well as books by Ford Madox Ford, Daphne du Maurier, Franz Kafka and Vera Brittain. On his daughter Livia’s watch, Julia Hales’ The Green Consumer Guide and Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch were trendsetting bestsellers….

I was genuinely shocked to see the comments about Gollancz in Livia Gollancz’s obituary published in The Bookseller. To describe a beloved publishing list as “merely a science fiction imprint” and its last two decades as a “tragedy” is offensive to my colleagues; our authors and fans; our reviewers and bloggers; fellow SFF publishers; and to the wider genre community. While everyone has a right to their personal opinion and literary preferences, to air such a definitive bias against genre fiction in the obituary of our former owner was troubling and frankly insulting.

It is easy to point out how many of the greatest works ever written are SF or Fantasy titles. From the Iliad to Jules Verne, to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, to The Handmaid’s Tale, right up to Naomi Alderman’s The Power, speculative fiction has been an unrivalled way of exploring our world and society. It is just as easy—as your publication has demonstrated—to dismiss that claim by saying those books are ”proper” literary novels not “merely SFF”.

That argument is nonsense. Worse, it is prejudiced and badly informed nonsense….

  • Bookseller editor Philip Jones apologized.

My comments on the diminution of Victor Gollancz should not be interpreted as a slight on the proud history of SF publishing itself, at Gollancz or anywhere else. Rather it is a reminder, to readers and publishers too young to remember the “old” Gollancz, that Victor Gollancz Ltd was a leader in so many ways and an independent powerhouse that set standards and trends in both adult and children’s publishing….

(9) BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born May 6, 1915 – Orson Welles

(10) COMICS SECTION.

(11) AURORA AWARDS HEADS-UP. Canadian Science Fiction & Fantasy Association members have until May 26 to nominate eligible works for the Aurora Awards – see the nominations page.

(12) KEEP YOUR SUIT ON. In this Wired video, Chris Hadfield makes nude space walks sound even less attractive than they already did. And that’s just for starters.

Retired astronaut Chris Hadfield helps debunk (and confirm!) some common myths about space. Is there any sound in space? Does space smell like burnt steak? Is NASA working on warp speed?

 

(13) HURTS SO GOOD. I keep reading Galactic Journey despite Gideon Marcus’ tendency to break my teen-aged fannish heart. It’s bad enough the things he says about every issue of Analog. Now he’s lighting into one of young Mike’s all-time favorite sf novels (in the hardcover version, Way Station): “[May 6, 1963] The more things change… (June 1963 Galaxy)”.

The proud progressive flagship [Galaxy] appears to be faltering, following in the footsteps of Campbell’s reactionary Analog.  It’s not all bad, exactly.  It’s just nothing new…and some of it is really bad.  Is it a momentary blip?  Or is Editor Pohl saving the avante-garde stuff for his other two magazines?

…Simak is one of the great veterans of our field, and he has been a staple of Galaxy since its inception.  He is unmatched when it comes to evoking a bucolic charm, and he has a sensitive touch when conveying people (human or otherwise).  This particular tale begins promisingly, but it meanders a bit, and it frequently repeats itself.  Either over-padded or under-edited, it could do with about 15% fewer words.  Three stars so far, but I have a feeling the next half will be better….

Next he’ll be telling Mozart “too many notes”!

(14) SPOCK IN OREGON. As long as we’re revisiting the Sixties, here’s Leonard Nimoy to tell you all about his Star Trek character….

Interview from 1967 conducted by KGW-TV, a news station in Portland, Oregon. This was rediscovered in 2010 in their film archives. Nimoy talks at length about playing Mr. Spock on “Star Trek”, then in its second season.

 

(15) TAKEI IN BOSTON. George Takei is still with us – and in the public eye: “‘Star Trek’ actor George Takei to speak at Boston library” on May 8.

Star Trek” actor George Takei (tuh-KAY’) is scheduled to speak at the Boston Public Library.

Takei on Tuesday is set to discuss his experience during World War II spent in U.S. internment camps for Japanese-Americans.

Takei used his family’s story as the inspiration for the Broadway musical “Allegiance.”

The show tells the narrative of the fictional Kimura family, whose lives are upended when they and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans are forced to leave their homes following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The cast of the SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of Takei’s musical also will perform during the event at the library’s main branch at Copley (KAHP’-lee) Square.

(16) IT’S DEAD, JIM. Self-conscious about your Latin pronunciation? Let @Botanygeek James Wong put you at ease. Jump on the thread here:

(17) WELL THAT SUCKS. Once more, a story goes viral only to yield a dud: “Egypt says no hidden rooms in King Tut’s tomb after all”.

New radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are no hidden rooms inside King Tutankhamun’s burial chamber, Egypt’s antiquities ministry said Sunday, bringing a disappointing end to years of excitement over the prospect.

Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said an Italian team conducted extensive studies with ground-penetrating radar that showed the tomb did not contain any hidden, man-made blocking walls as was earlier suspected. Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin presented the findings at an international conference in Cairo.

“Our work shows in a conclusive manner that there are no hidden chambers, no corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun’s tomb,” Porcelli said, “As you know there was a theory that argued the possible existence of these chambers but unfortunately our work is not supporting this theory.”

(18) BRAIN DEATH. Vice headline: “This Neurologist Found Out What Happens to Our Brains When We Die”.  German neurologists Jens Dreier and Jed Hartings have published a study about what happens to the human brain while dying. It turns out some of the details are remarkably like that discussed in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Skin of Evil” during the death of character Tasha Yar.

…if German neurologist Jens Dreier had just binged enough Star Trek: The Next Generation, he could have already known the outcome of his groundbreaking research, which the sci-fi series predicted 30 years ago.

Dreier works at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, one of Germany’s leading university hospitals. In February, the 52-year-old and his colleague, Jed Hartings, published a study that details what happens to our brain at the point of death. It describes how the brain’s neurons transmit electrical signals with full force one last time before they completely die off. Though this phenomenon, popularly known in the medical community as a “brain tsunami”, had previously only been seen in animals, Dreier and Hartings were able to show it in humans as they died. Their work goes on to suggest that in certain circumstances, the process could be stopped entirely, theorising that it could be done if enough oxygen is supplied to the brain before the cells are destroyed.

Soon after their discovery, the two researchers also found out that a 1988 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation shows chief physician Beverly Crusher trying to revive Lieutenant Tasha Yar, while clearly describing the exact processes the neurologists have been trying to understand for years. I spoke to Dreier about their discovery and how it feels to be beaten by a TV show by three decades.

And didn’t Connie Willis’ Passage make use of this premise as well?

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Karl-Johan Norén, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Carl Slaughter, ULTRAGOTHA, Andrew Porter, Chip Hitchcock, Jay Byrd, Avilyn, Alan Baumler, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

Prix Aurora/Boréal 2018 Nominees

The Prix Aurora/Boréal 2018 will be presented this weekend at Congrès Boréal 2018 in Montreal, in Canada.

In connection with the novel finalists the administrators have issued a statement – in French, which Google Translate renders in English as —

The SFSF Boreal Corporation is responsible for organizing and awarding the Aurora-Boreal Awards. Over the past few days, the Aurora-Boréal Awards have been cited a few times in the media, in the context of a debate about the social acceptability of a fictional work that is among the finalists in the category of the best novel.

We find it important to specify that the finalists of the Aurora-Boreal Awards are selected by a public vote. SFSFBoréal strongly condemns any form of child pornography and the corporation would react accordingly if a charge to that effect was made against a finalist work or if a verdict to that effect was pronounced. SFSF Boréal however defends artists’ freedom of expression under Canadian law and trusts readers to recognize the artistic merit of works in the running.

Here are the works on the shortlist:

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur roman (Best novel)

  • Calvo: Toxoplasma (La Volte)
  • Georges, Karoline: De synthèse (Alto)
  • Godbout, Yvan: Hansel et Gretel (AdA)
  • Laframboise, Michèle: La ruche (Les Six Brumes)
  • Villeneuve, Mathieu: Borealium tremens (La Peuplade)

Prix Aurora-Boréal – Meilleure nouvelle en français (Best short story in French)

  • Blouin, Geneviève: Démonothérapie (Solaris 203)
  •  Côté, Philippe-Aubert: La nuit aux trois démons (Les Six Brumes)
  •  Dagenais, Luc: XXZ: une histoire de sexe oral au temps des zombies (Les Six Brumes)
  •  Laframboise, Michèle: Petzis (Solaris 203)
  •  Verdier, Vic: Lac au Sable (Les Six Brumes)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleure bande dessinée (Best Comic Book)

  • Anouk: L’armée du Soleil (http://larmeedusoleil.anoukbd.com)
  • Desharnais, Francis/Val Mo: Le seigneur de Saint-Rock (Front Froid)
  • Vigneault, François: Titan (Pow Pow)

Prix Aurora/Boréal – Meilleur ouvrage connexe (Best related work)

  • Blouin, Geneviève/Lauzon, Isabelle/Rocheleau, Carl: Écrire et publier au Québec: les littératures de l’imaginaire (Les Six Brumes)
  • Bonin, Pierre-Alexandre: Horrificorama (Les Six Brumes)
  • Brins d’éternité (Ariane Gélinas, Alamo St-Jean et Guillaume Voisine, direction)
  • La République du Centaure (Alain Ducharme, coordonateur)
  • Trudel, Jean-Louis: Petit guide de la science-fiction au Québec (Alire)

Prix Boréal – Création artistique visuelle et audiovisuelle (Best audiovisual artistic creation)

  • Léger, Émilie: Couverture Horrificorama (Les Six Brumes)
  • Sybiline: Couverture (Brins d’éternité 46)
  • Tikulin, Tomislav: Illustrations (Solaris 201-202)
  • Villeneuve, Denis: Blade Runner 2049 (film)

Prix Boréal – Fanédition (Fan work)

Update 05/03/2018: Corrected site of convention to Montreal.