Steve Miller told his and Sharon Lee’s fans they have a lot to look forward to in the coming months, even if the pandemic keeps the authors home. He also shared a medical update about Sharon.
A strange year — the first year in decades that we haven’t had an in-person convention experience, though we have taken part in some virtual stuff. So, for fans and friends we haven’t caught up with in RL recently, this is what’s happening with us. Writing has been interrupted several times, but it is moving forward.
Elsewise, we’re generally doing well. Sharon’s recovery from her foot-rebuilding operation last October is complete and she’s now able to comfortably wear and walk with matched shoes, so that’s good and in fact we both have been getting in a few miles a day of walking when we can.
Also she’s done with her radiation treatments following her March mastectomy and though we’re basically staying home and isolating, we have been getting in some fall day trips around the state around once a week to enjoy the foliage and visit lakes and seashores. At the behest of several of Sharon’s doctors we’ve been moving to a more plant-based diet and slowly losing weight — so hey, progress is happening on that front, but ham and cheese sandwiches are still on the occasional menu.
Elsewise, we keep our cats as happy as we can … and as with most of us, things move on despite the pandemic.
And they have a lot of books and stories upcoming. Miller says —
On October 27 last year’s best-selling Liaden novel Accepting the Lance will have a mass market release from Baen, to go along with the existing hardback, audio, and ebook editions. On the same day, Sharon and I will be publishing “The Wrong Lance” as part of our Splinter Universe Presents chapbook series — “The Wrong Lance” is a collection of outtakes and scenes from Accepting the Lance. This is aimed at folks already familiar with our Liaden Universe® SF series and will be in ebook (for Nook, Kindle, Kobo, and etc.) and an Amazon paper edition, on October 27. The outtakes ought to be illustrative of what can go wrong when trying to keep a series full of characters and ideas in line!
Around November 16, Baen.com will publish our Liaden short story “Preferred Seating” — available to read free online.
Next up is the publication of Trader’s Leap on December 1 — that’s from Baen Books and will be available as hardback, ebook, and audio book — this is the 23rd novel in the Liaden series.
Later in December our next Pinbeam Books chapbook — including our 93rd joint fiction effort. That’s Ambient Conditions: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® Number 31. This chapbook contains a short story reprint “A Visit to the Galaxy Ballroom,” as well as an original novelette “Ambient Conditions” and an Authors’ Foreword. This chapbook is still in process, so no link yet. Watch the skies.
Beyond that our AlbaCon Guest of Honor gig, originally scheduled for September of this year, is still on hold pending news on the coronavirus front. Also, I’m at work on a short story I hope to finish this month, Sharon’s working on another short story for an anthology, and we’ve got a novel in process due for submission early next year.
Judging will be by Baen Books editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel, David Afsharirad, and Baen author David Drake.
Ten finalists will be announced no later than March 8, 2021
The GRAND PRIZE winner will be published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submittals, currently .08/word. The author will also receive an engraved award, free entry into the 2021 International Space Development Conference, a year’s membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise.
For $30.99, users of Cameo — an app where singers, actors and other public figures record custom video messages for a fee — can request a personalized clip of the divisive figure saying whatever they want.
And supporters and critics alike are seizing the opportunity.
Most of Arpaio’s Cameo videos appear to be standard fare, such as birthday greetings, thank-you messages, congratulatory comments. But one that began circulating on social media on Tuesday evening, an encouraging message for the organizers of an upcoming event, raised eyebrows.
“Hey, good luck organizing the Arizona Furry convention,” Arpaio begins, though he pronounces it “Fury,” suggesting he’s not totally certain what he’s been asked to talk about. It’s “for animal lovers,” he adds by way of explanation.
“I’ve always loved animals, fought those that abused animals and will continue to do so,” he continues. “In any event, have a great convention.”
…Many members of the subculture have defined it as one dedicated to artistic expression and helping people come out of their shells, but they’ve long had to endure jokes from people who mock “fur-suiting” as a sexual fetish.
Judging by the requester listed on Arpaio’s Cameo, the person who ordered the video may be one of them. The username: Sir Yiffs A Lot.
“Yiff” refers to furry-related sexual content or activity, which made Arpaio’s sign-off all the more cringeworthy.
“As far as what animal I would like to be, I’m kind of partial to dogs,” he says after a pause, as if responding to a question included in the video request. “But I love all animals. Thanks.”
“Mosley is a master of craft and narrative, and through his incredibly vibrant and diverse body of work, our literary heritage has truly been enriched,” said David Steinberger, chair of the NBA board of directors, in the release. “From mysteries to literary fiction to nonfiction, Mosley’s talent and memorable characters have captivated readers everywhere, and the Foundation is proud to honor such an illustrious voice whose work will be enjoyed for years to come.”
At first glance, what surprises about Lafawndah’s new album, The Fifth Season, is the absence of her image on the cover. Instead of the regal, sometimes confrontational gazes adorning past works, such as Ancestor Boy (2019) and “Tan” (2016), here the listener is greeted with the empty eyes of an amorphous stone figure, kneeling, palms extended, on what seems to be the edge of the Earth. It’s unclear if this character is meant to represent Lafawndah herself, or something else entirely—but upon listening to the album, it almost doesn’t matter. As an artist who self-identifies as a “creative orphan,” shapeshifting is written into Lafawndah’s DNA. It’s only appropriate that her latest release takes it as its central mode.
Its core subject, however, marks a decisive break from past projects. Rather than looking inward, Lafawndah instead extends outward, drawing on the emotionally charged myths of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy to guide her. Set in a far-future Earth rife with conflict and periodic disasters (“Seasons”) that threaten to destroy all human life, Jemisin’s Afrofuturist series tells tales of heartbreak, strife, and conflict from the perspectives of three different women. It’s only at the end the reader realizes that each character is the same person, at different points in her life….
(5) SUGGESTIONS NEEDED. “So what should do I with a half dozen signed limited edition posters by Charles Vess? Can you think of a worthy fan cause?” Cat Eldridge looks to Filers for suggestions.
“No, I don’t know why he sent them.” says Cat. “I think they’re twenty years old now but they’re in excellent shape.”
Everything’s bigger in Texas—even the vampire scene. Television and film have catapulted vampires into the mainstream, cementing vampirism into pop culture. From the cult classic Interview with the Vampire to FXX series What We Do in the Shadows, there’s no shortage of fictional portrayals of vampire life and the people who crave to be like them. Life can be stranger than fiction, and real-life vampires exist. While they tend to have an affinity for the occult, they’ve sunk their fangs into philanthropy and social good during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas is one of many states that boasts of vibrant vampire communities, known as courts. Self-identifying vampires can apply for membership in their city. To an outsider, these vampire courts may sound eerie. For the vampires, the courts are a place they can find belonging….
…One of my favorite ways to visualize how much book cover design has changed over the years is to track one classic book that tends to get redesigned every few years and see how the designs have evolved. Honestly the entire Penguin Classics imprint survives on this as an entire business model. There have been entire academic studies and books published on the design history of books like Lolita. But this is a SciFi Fantasy Art blog and it just so happens that the new Dune trailer finally came out today, so we’re going to be looking at the last few decades of book cover design through the lens of Dune by Frank Herbert….
The stories that would become Dune were first serialized in Analog Magazine starting in December 1963. John Schoenherr was commissioned on August 7, 1963 (great backstory on the blog kept by his son Ian Schoenherr here) to create images for the covers and interiors for “Dune World” 1, 2, and 3.
(8) PARDUE OBIT. Filker Naomi Pardue took her own life reports Tom Smith who said, “She had been very depressed for awhile now, after the death of a close friend.”
(9) MEDIA ANNIVERSARY.
September 1990 — The 1991 World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction Would go to Neil Gaiman’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which was published thirty years ago this month in the nineteenth issue of Sandman. It features the beginning of Morpheus’ creative partnership with William Shakespeare, and is the only comic book to date to win a World Fantasy Award. It was drawn by Charles Vess and colored by Steve Oliff. The final issue of Sandman, number seventy five, “The Tempest”, concerns the second of the two plays commissioned by Morpheus.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born September 10, 1860 – Margaret Armour. Novelist, poet, translator. Translated the Nibelungenlied into English prose (1887), then Wagner’s four Nibelungen operas The Rhine Gold and The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Twilight of the Gods, illustrated by Arthur Rackham (1912); also Legerlotz’ Gudrun (1932). Outside our field, tr. Heine with Leland and Brooksbank; and her own works. (Died 1943) [JH]
Born September 10, 1905 – Jay Jackson. A hundred interiors for Amazing, Fantastic, Golden Fleece, Weird Tales. Here is Robert Bloch’s “Secret of the Observatory”. Here is “The Space Pirate”. Here is “Planet of the Gods”. Also outside our field: here is an image for World War II bonds. He appears to have been the first black SF artist. See this from the Chicago Defender. (Died 1954) [JH]
Born September 10, 1911 – William Crawford. Published and edited Fantasy Book (as Garret Ford; with wife Margaret Crawford), Marvel Tales, Unusual, Spaceway (i.e. not Harry Warner’s fanzine Spaceways). Early LASFS (L.A. Science Fantasy Soc.) member. Seven anthologies, some uncredited. Started SF conventions. Seen in Locus as late as 1981. Helped many; received the Big Heart, our highest service award. (Died 1984) [JH]
Born September 10, 1914 — Robert Wise. Film director, producer, and editor. Among his accomplishments are directing The Curse of The Cat People, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Haunting, The Andromeda Strain and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Though not at all genre, he also directed West Side Story and edited Citizen Kane. (Died 2005.) (CE)
Born September 10, 1927 – Betty Levin, 93. Ten novels for us; several others outside our field e.g. Starshine and Sunglow (“Grace and subtle humor” – Kirkus), Thorn (“Strongly lyrical writing, unusual & provocative themes” – Kirkus). Judy Lopez Award, Hope Dean Award. [JH]
Born September 10, 1952 — Gerry Conway, 68. Writer who’s best known for co-creating with John Romita Sr. and Ross Andru the Punisher character and scripting the death of Gwen Stacy during his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man. I’m also fond of his work on Weird Western Tales at DC. (CE)
Born September 10, 1953 — Pat Cadigan, 67. Tea from an Empty Cup and Dervish is Digital are both amazing works. And I’m fascinated that she has co-written with Paul Dini, creator of Batman: The Animated Series, a DCU novel called Harley Quinn: Mad Love. (CE)
Born September 10, 1955 — Victoria Strauss, 65. Author of the Burning Land trilogy, she should be praised unto high for being founder along with AC Crispin of the Committee on Writing Scams. She maintains the Writer Beware website and blog. (CE)
Born September 10, 1959 — Tara Ward, 61. She played Preston in the “Warriors of the Deep”, a Third Doctor story. After Doctor Who, she shows up in one-offs in Star Cops and Dark Realm, the Eric Roberts as the Host with vampire teeth horror anthology series,beforehaving a very minor role in the Justice League film. (CE)
Born September 10, 1959 — Nancy A. Collins, 61. Author of the Sonja Blue vampire novels, some of the best of that genre I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. She had a long run on Swamp Thing from issues #110 to #138, and it is generally considered a very good period in that narrative. She also wrote Vampirella, the Forrest J Ackerman and Trina Robbins creation, for awhile. (CE)
Born September 10, 1964 – Chip Kidd, 56. Some say he does 75 covers a year. “Designing books is no laughing matter. Okay, it is.” Here is Jurassic Park. Here is Was. Here is The Elephant Vanishes. Here is Loop. Infinity Award for Design (Int’l Center of Photography), Nat’l Design Award for Communication, AIGA (Am. Inst. Graphic Arts) Medal. “I’m very much against the idea that the cover will sell the book. Marketing departments of publishing houses tend to latch onto this concept and they can’t let go. But it’s about whether the book itself really connects with the public, and the cover is only a small part of that.” [JH]
Born September 10, 1977 – Emily Snyder, 43. Directed eleven Shakespeare plays, performed in twenty-five, including Brutus in Julius Caesar and Prospero in The Tempest. Love and Death trilogy in blank verse Persephone Rises, The Seduction of Adonis and Cupid and Psyche. Matter of Arthur plays The Table Round and The Siege Perilous. Novels for us Niamh and the Hermit, Charming the Moon. Feminist and Catholic.[JH]
That’s the quote we all know and love, uttered as the bad guys try to steal the priceless artifact away from Indiana Jones. And when he says it, the audience is usually cheering him on. He’s the scientist with the archaeological smarts after all. He knows how much these artifacts could benefit the world, so he’s going to risk his life to give us the chance to see them. Pretty damn noble if you ask me.
That’s not really the whole story, is it?
Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire, was always meant to be a fast, fun, action-packed adventure in the Indiana Jones style. An entertaining beach read (or, I guess, ‘pandemic read’ now). However, it was also important to me to address some serious archaeological issues, in particular the colonial elements of these types of stories. I wanted to pull that aspect into the torch light and inspect it properly (while hoping it didn’t set off a trap).
The big idea here is that the famous “it belongs in a museum” line is only half complete. In a world where archaeologists and museums are being nudged to move beyond their colonial past, it deserves a follow-up:
…No one could say that the books have grown quaint or stale; just ask my third graders. Nor was Walpole indulging in hyperbole. Doctor Dolittle is a wonderful creation: a Victorian eccentric from the pages of Dickens; a perpetual bachelor who drives conventional humans from his life but is much loved by the poor and the marginal; a gentleman whose exquisite politesse never falters, even before sharks and pirates; a peace-loving naturalist prepared to wage war to defend his friends from evil depredations. Only by the standards of the world of grown-ups does he “do little.”
… Lofting really was a genius of children’s literature. But he was also a product of the British Empire. When Doctor Dolittle goes to Africa to cure the monkeys, he stumbles into the Kingdom of Jolliginki. Prince Bumpo, the heir to the throne, is a mooncalf who mistakes fairy tales for real life, speaks in Elizabethan periphrasis and murmurs to himself: “If only I were a white prince!” In the pencil sketches with which Lofting illustrates his texts, Prince Bumpo looks like the missing link between man and ape. Lofting’s biographer, Gary D. Schmidt, defensively notes that Doctor Dolittle himself rarely utters a bigoted word. But the doctor is only a character; the narrator and the illustrator are none other than our author. While Lofting never fails to give his Africans a measure of nobility, he is also quite certain of their savagery.
… The edition I read was probably published in 1950, three years after Lofting’s death. By the 1970s, he had gone into eclipse. Over the years, new editions appeared that attempted to address the racism, including one in 1988 from which all pictures of Prince Bumpo and his parents had been removed, along with all references to their skin color, not to mention their wish to change it. “If this verbal and visual caution occasionally seems almost craven,” a reviewer for The New York Times Book Review wrote, the blind spots for which it sought to compensate were real.
(15) SET DECORATION BY NATURE. Yeah, this is how San Francisco looked yesterday.
(16) BOOKS ON TAP. Baen Books authors will make two livestreaming appearances Publishers Weekly’s Books on Tap LIVE series in the coming months. The authors will be interviewed with the opportunity to answer questions at the end of the segment.
The first, featuring Larry Correia, will air on Wednesday, September 23rd at 4:00 PM EDT. Larry Correia is the bestselling author of the Monster Hunter International urban fantasy series, the Grimnoir trilogy, and the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior military epic fantasy series with the latest novel Destroyer of Worlds, on sale September 1st.
David Weber & Jacob Holo will be teaming up for an event on Wednesday, October 7th at 4:00 PM EDT to celebrate the release of The Valkyrie Protocol, the second book in their Gordian Division time travel adventure series. David Weber is a multiple New York Times best-selling author, the creator of the Honor Harrington military science fiction series, as well as Path of the Fury, the Hell’s Gate multiverse series, the Dahak Saga, and many more. The Valkyrie Protocol is on sale October 6th.
The authors are known for lively dialogue, interesting backstories, and enjoying interaction with guests. These events are free to the public. To sign up for these special events go here September 23rd at 4:00 for Larry Correia; and a link will be forthcoming for the event on October 7th at 4:00 for David Weber and Jacob Holo.
(17) MALTIN ON MOVIES. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] I listened to a 2019 podcast Leonard and Jessie Maltin did with Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
Lord and Miller met at Dartmouth, where they wrote a comic strip about a chain-smoking squirrel that was turned into a feature in the Dartmouth alumni magazine. That magazine ended up on Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s corporate jet, which led to a phone call the undergraduates got asking them to come to Hollywood and take a meeting, which they declined because they were doing mid-term exams.
After they were graduated, Disney hired them but their first great success came with the MTV series “Clone High,” which was banned in India because Gandhi was one of the clones. Most of the podcast includes discussion of the Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs movies and The Lego Movie. The podcast was produced before The Lego Movie 2 came out. There is much discussion about why it’s so much harder to come up with a good script for an animated film than for a feature film, with Leonard Maltin noting that Walt Disney threw out six months’ work on Pinocchio.
There was one question about SOLO, the Star Wars project that Lord and Miller were sacked from.
Earlier this year, we were introduced to the Pringles and Rick and Morty collaboration that resulted in Pickle Rick pickle-flavored chips. Not only are the chips — which were released in honor of the Super Bowl — available again, but there are two new varieties that were inspired by the Adult Swim series.
The special-edition Pickle Rick flavor is joined by Honey Mustard Morty and Look at Me! I’m Cheddar & Sour Cream. While the flavors are self-explanatory (hello, honey mustard-flavored and cheddar-and-sour-cream-flavored chips!), there’s a reason these three were chosen. Stacking Pringles flavors, which fit so perfectly together, has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years, according to the brand. The idea here is that you take one of each chip and eat them together for an insane flavor combination….
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, N., Daniel Dern, Bill, Michael Toman, Lise Andreasen, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, John Hertz, Rob Thornton, and Cat Eldridge for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Rob Thornton.]
“The Chilling Account of The Wolf-Bann of Krallenburg” by J. E. Tabor
“The Power” by Stephen Lawson
“The Strength of Summer Storms” by Evey Brett
“Who Will Know?” by Scott R. Parkin
Due to the cancellation of NASFIC and the ongoing uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 virus, the top three winners will be revealed at the beginning of the Baen Virtual Roadshow in early August, broadcast live on Baen’s Facebook page.
My first novel was published in 1981 by Simon and Schuster. It cost $2.50 and I got 20¢ a copy. To earn out my $5,000 advance, I would have had to sell 25,000 books. I don’t know if it sold that many, but it did get reprinted by S&S, and then republished by Del Rey. Later, my advances, and presumably the number of books they sold, increased quite a bit.
Twenty years ago, I kind of vanished from publishing except for the odd (very) Star Trek novel. But anyway the bottom fell out of the market for us mid-list types.
Now forty years have gone by since my first novel came out. I have just put out my first new science fiction novel since 1997 (unless you count that “very” odd Star Trek novel. Today, I’m not even imagining selling 100,000 copies of Vampire Junction or 25,000 copies of a space opera. Today, putting the whole thing on amazon all by myself, I’m thinking boy, if I sell 100 copies, I’ll have made a whole lot of old-time fans, most of whom I know personally, happy. And enjoy a lot of very nice meals.
But here’s the thing … it was REALLY satisfying to finish a science fiction novel. I might have to do some more.
Homeworld of the Heart — the 5th novel in the Inquestor series and my first science fiction book since 1997. Here are the links to the trade paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.
It’s about the childhood of Sajit, who was to become the poet of the entire galactic empire. It’s chock-full of childsoldiers, people bins, tachyon bubbles, utopia hunters, beauty and depravity and the other expected features of the series, but also speaks about the chaos that ensues when the Inquestors’ games misfire, about the subtleties of music in the Inquestral age, and the stone-age taboos of a high-tech civilization.
(2) BAEN SERIES ENDS. I inquired of Baen Books’ Christopher Ruocchio and learned there won’t be a volume of The Year’s Best Military & Adventure SF in 2020. He said, “Toni and [editor] David Afsharirad decided that five volumes was going to do it for the military sf anthology series and wrapped it up. Last year’s was the last for the present.” The series will be missed.
(3) MEDICAL UPDATE. Juanita Coulson, 87, was taken to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, for tests and treatment. It was suspected she’d had a stroke, however, Bruce Coulson told Facebook readers today in a public post: “Further news on Mom. It turns out she did NOT have a stroke (probably), but does have a UTI and will be off work for a while. On the plus side, she might be going back home in a couple of days.”
Coulson is a sff author, winner of the Big Heart Award (2012), and past DUFF delegate.
(4) CANADA PERFORMS. Margaret Atwood kicks off a streaming series for Canadian writers whose tours have been derailed. “It doesn’t replace the fun of an audience, mass audience response, but it’s better than nothing,” she said. “I think we’re in the better-than-nothing era.” The New York Times reports: “At Margaret Atwood’s Prompting, Canada Launches Virtual Book Tours”.
Margaret Atwood is launching an online series that she hopes will help Canada’s writers sell books to a nation of shut-ins. But even she has not been immune to the headaches plaguing many people as they attempt to communicate during the global pandemic.
“Come back, come back,” Clarkson said. “Was it anything I said?”
After a few minutes, Atwood did reappear, in a different room of her house with a superior internet connection. The two women continued to go through a list of books they acknowledged that, for the most part, they hadn’t even seen, let alone read, but were written by authors whose earlier works they enjoyed.
Their chat, which veered into social distancing and gardening, among other subjects, was an extension of a program the arts center started two weeks ago, CanadaPerforms, to provide a paid venue for musicians, actors, comedians and other performers at a time when stages are dark around the world….
(5) BARBER OBIT. [Item by Joel Zakem.] Michigan fan Tom Barber (born 1949) passed away on April 4, 2020, from complications of COVID 19. Tom was a long time convention worker and occasional t-shirt dealer who, in the past, had chaired both Confusion and Conclave. He was a member of the Dorsai Irregulars and was Fan GOH at Confusion in 2001.
(6) TODAY IN HISTORY.
April 7, 1933 — King Kong was released nationwide I he U.S. It was directed and produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. The screenplay was written by James Ashmore Creelman and Ruth Rose was developed from an idea by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. It stars Fay Wray, Bruce Cabot and Robert Armstrong. Critics mostly loved it, the box office was quite amazing and the audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes currently give it a 97% approval rating. You can watch it here.
April 7, 1951 — The Thing from Another World premiered. It was directed by Christian Nyby, and produced by Edward Lasker. It’s based on John W. Campbell ‘s “Who Goes There?” novella. The film stars Margaret Sheridan, Kenneth Tobey, Robert Cornthwaite, and Douglas Spencer. James Arness is The Thing, but he is almost impossible to recognize in makeup due to both the extremely low lighting and other steps used to hide his face. Critics at the time weren’t wild about it but audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes really like it and give it an 87% rating. You can watch it here.
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 7, 1915 — Henry Kuttner. While he was working for the d’Orsay agency, he found Leigh Brackett’s early manuscripts in the slush pile; it was under his guidance that she sold her first story to Campbell at Astounding Stories. His own work was done in close collaboration with C. L. Moore, his wife, and much of what they published was under pseudonyms. During the Forties, he also contributed numerous scripts to the Green Lantern series. (Died 1958.)
Born April 7, 1915 — Stanley Adams. He’s best known for playing Cyrano Jones in “The Trouble with Tribbles” Trek episode. He reprised that role in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and archival footage of him was later featured in the Deep Space Nine “Trials and Tribble-ations” episode. He also appeared in two episodes of the Batman series (“Catwoman Goes to College” and “Batman Displays his Knowledge”) as Captain Courageous. (Died 1977.)
Born April 7, 1928 — James White. Certainly the Sector General series which ran to twelve novels and ran over thirty years of publication was his best known work. I’ve no idea how many I read but it was quite a few. I’m not sure what else by him I’ve read but I’m certain there was other novels down the years. He worked on the famed Irish fanzines Slant and Hyphen. He was a guest of honor at the 1996 Worldcon. (Died 1999.)
Born April 7, 1935 — Marty Cantor, 85. He edited with his then wife Robbie Holier Than Thou, nominated for the 1984, 1985 and 1986 Hugo Awards for Best Fanzine — losing in the first two years to File 770 and in the last to Lan’s Lantern. He also published Who KnowsWhat Ether Lurks in the Minds of Fen?, a rather nice play off The Shadow radio intro.
Born April 7, 1939 — Francis Ford Coppola, 81. Director / Writer / Producer. THX 1138 was produced by him and directed by George Lucas in his feature film directorial debut in 1971. Saw it late at night after some serious drug ingestion with a red head into Morrison — strange experience that was. Other genre works of note include Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a episode of Faerie Tale Theatre entitled “Rip Van Winkle”, Twixt (a horror film that almost no one has heard of), Captain EO which featured Michael Jackson, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers2.
Born April 7, 1945 — Susan Petrey. Only three of her stories were published during her lifetime. More of her work appeared in the Gifts of Blood collection published after her death. She was nominated, also posthumously, for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and her story ”Spidersong” was nominated for the Hugo Award. Susan C. Petrey Clarion Scholarship Fund annually awards scholarships to both the Clarion & Clarion West workshops and also supports an instructor at Clarion West as a Petrey Fellow. (Died 1980.)
Born April 7, 1946 — Stan Winston. He’s best known for his work in Aliens, the Terminator franchise, the first three Jurassic Park films, the first two Predator films, Batman Returns and Iron Man. He was unusual in having expertise in makeup, puppets and practical effects, and was just starting to get in digital effects as well upon the time of his passing. I think we sum up his talent by noting that he both an Oscars for Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup for his work on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. (Died 2008.)
Born April 7, 1951 — Yvonne Gilbert, 69. Though best remembered for her controversial cover design of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1983 single ”Relax”, she did a number of great genre covers including Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthseafor Bantam in 1991 and Beagle’sA Dance for Emiliafor Roc in 2000.
(8) COMICS SECTION.
Is coronavirus funny enough to fill the entire Comics Section? You be the judge!
xkcd tells why homemade masks are better than some other ideas for avoiding infection.
Pearls Before Swine’s creator is suspiciously unavailable — April 6 and April 7.
Nadia is a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo. Last week, she started exhibiting one of the key symptoms of the novel coronavirus: a dry cough.
And it wasn’t just Nadia — her sister Azul, two Amur tigers, and three African lions were all experiencing the same thing. So the zoo got permission from local and state health departments and animal health authorities, and took a sample from Nadia to be tested for the SARS-CoV-2. The sample was analyzed at the University of Illinois and Cornell University, and the presumptive positive finding confirmed at a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Iowa.
That positive makes Nadia the first known infection case of an animal in the U.S., the CDC says.
That result raises a number of questions about the virus, and how it could affect the animals we spend time with. We’ll tackle those questions here.
How do you test a tiger for coronavirus?
The test involved an oral swab, a nasal swab, and procedure called a tracheal wash, which allows for sampling of the animal’s airways….
How did the tiger get tested when a lot of people still can’t?
The sample from Nadia was tested at veterinary diagnostic labs that aren’t approved to analyze human tests. The testing of the tiger “did not take a test or resources from human health efforts,” the zoo said.
Nadia and the other tigers and lions are doing well and improving, the zoo says, though some have a decrease in appetite.
(12) VIDEOS OF THE DAY. “2 Lizards: Episode 3, 2020” completes a three-part series of short videos on Vimeo in which Oriem Barki and Meriem Bennani show that even lizards get antsy if they stay inside and watch coronavirus coverage on their laptops.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, JJ, Rich Lynch, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Joel Zakem, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Bruce Diamond.]
READING SERIES. Baen Books has launched a weekly author reading series to be conducted at 8 p.m. Eastern every Friday, hosted by editor Christopher Ruocchio via Zoom and Facebook LIVE.
On April 10 the guest will be Steven Barnes, reading from Starborn & Godsons, the third volume in the acclaimed Legacy of Heorot series that he co-authored with Larry Niven and the late Jerry Pournelle.
Following the reading, Barnes will take questions from the audience.
TRAVELING ROADSHOW. Additionally, Baen will be hosting a live version of their Travelling Roadshow, a showcase of all our upcoming titles—with special attention paid to the original cover art, Baen’s free ebook library, extensive study guides, and more—featuring several of their authors. Audience interaction is encouraged, and there will be free books awarded. The Roadshow will air in two parts, one on April 11 at 4 p.m. Eastern, and the next on April 18 at 4 p.m. Eastern.
Reiten has won the
grand prize in
the 2020 Jim Baen Memorial Short story Award competition with his short story “Bagala Devi Objective.” Persistence paid off — it’s Reiten’s first win, after twice
placing third in previous years (2017 and 2019).
The Jim Baen Memorial Short
Story Contest has been held annually since 2007 and is focused on stories of
space exploration and discovery, with an optimistic spin on those activities
for the human race.
Devi Objective” by M.T. Reiten
by Kate MacEachern
THIRD PLACE (tie)
Return by C. Stuart Hardwick
Caretaker” by Tiffany Smith
The contest judges were Baen Books
editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel, David Afsharirad, and Baen author
The Grand Prize winner will be
published as the featured story on the Baen Books main website and
paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submittals, currently
.08/word. The author will also receive an engraved award, free entry into the
2020 International Space Development Conference (unfortunately cancelled due
to the coronavirus outbreak), a
year’s membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing
various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise.
Second and Third place winners will receive a year’s membership in the National Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise. They were also to have received free entry into the now-cancelled 2020 International Space Development Conference.
It would appear William Shatner is not quite through with Capt. James T. Kirk after all. The actor has been giving Star Trek fans a treat via social media with Captain’s Log updates — a plot device, usually done for story exposition, on the famed sci-fi TV show and subsequent films. Shatner, like many around the world, is self-isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last night, California announced that it was extending its shelter-in-place measures across the entire state. With the Nebula Conference scheduled to take place in Los Angeles at the end of May, we have been anticipating that move and working towards a positive solution which we had planned to announce on March 31st. I would like to keep to that timeline as it will enable us to complete some final details for what we believe will be a great conference. I would appreciate your patience until then.
Though the circumstances are distressing, the alterations that we are making to prioritize the health and safety of our attendees have offered us some exciting opportunities to make the Nebula Conference more accessible and inclusive. I know you may have questions about refunds and your hotel reservations. Please do not make any changes until we share with you our plan on March 31st, which will allow us to expand the range of options that you will have.
I look forward to speaking with you on March 31st.
BookExpo, Unbound and BookCon are being moved to July 22-26 from May 27-31, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Reedpop, the organizer of the events, explained: “We have been closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 in New York and around the country. Following the guidance of health officials, we are now complying with the State’s request that large gatherings be postponed to ensure the well-being of everyone involved with our event.”
Event director Jenny Martin commented: “If the situation changes again between now and July, we will change along with it. We run events, we pivot proudly. Right now, we remain focused on the goal of serving our community this summer with those who want to do the same.”
4. Mote Prime (1974): In Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye, this is the homeworld of the Moties, a species that, due to cosmic happenstance, has been bottled up in its solar system ever since it evolved. Mote Prime is planet which has become a palimpsest, mutely testifying to the endless cycles of technological development and collapse experienced by the trapped Moties.
I’m quoting this one because a friend recently shared with me his quite
definite ideas about the usage of palimpsest.
Deadline reports that production on Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale has been temporarily suspended due to concerns over the recent spread of COVID-19, aka coronavirus. The show, which films in Toronto, has yet to announce whether this suspension will delay its planned fall premiere date….
On March 14, Variety reported Marvel Studios paused production on the rest of its Disney+ series, which includes Loki and WandaVision. For shows currently in production, the work will continue remotely.
(6) INFLUENTIAL CINEMA. The Criterion Channel is
running a block of historic movies of the ”German Expressionism”
Physical reality warps and bends to fit the twisted psychological states on display in the cinema of the German expressionist movement of the 1920s. With their emphasis on exaggerated shadows, off-kilter camera angles, dreamlike sets, and macabre story lines, these movies paved the way for the aesthetics of both horror cinema and film noir, genres in which mood and atmosphere take precedence over realism. This selection of some of the movement’s key works includes the quintessential example of the style, the delirious nightmare THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI; F. W. Murnau’s shivery vampire classic NOSFERATU; and several masterpieces by Fritz Lang, who, following the success of works like METROPOLIS and M, would go on to become instrumental in importing expressionist aesthetics to the Hollywood of the 1930s and ’40s.
…Etsy shop 9andthreequartersco has created coffee blends inspired by the magical world of Harry Potter. These coffees names are not only inspired by the books and movies, but so are the flavors.
(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 20, On this date, X Minus One’s “Protection” first aired. A man accidentally acquires an alien protector, who knows every disaster in the world before it happens. The script is by Ernest Kinoy. The cast includes Bill Redfield, William Keane and Elliott Reed. It written by Robert Sheckley. It was a half-hour science fiction radio drama series that broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958 in various timeslots on NBC. You can hear it this episode here.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 20, 1902 — David Lasser. From 1929 to 1933, he was the Managing Editor of Gernsback’s Stellar Publishing Corporation. He edited Science Wonder Stories and Wonder Stories Quarterly, as well working with writers on both zines. Lasser also edited Gernsback’s Wonder Stories from June 1930 to October 1933. As near as I can tell, The Time Projector novel is his only genre work. (Died 1996.)
Born March 20, 1932 — Jack Cady. He won the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award, and the Bram Stoker Award, an impressive feat indeed. McDowell’s Ghost gives a fresh spin on the trope of seeing seeing a War Between The States ghost, and The Night We Buried Road Dog is another ghost story set in early Sixties Montana. Underland Press printed all of his superb short fiction into two volumes, Phantoms: Collected Writings, Volume 1 and Fathoms: Collected Writings, Volume 2. (Died 2004.)
Born March 20, 1948 — Pamela Sargent, 72. She has three exemplary series of which I think the Seed trilogy, a unique take on intergenerational colony ships, is the one I like the best. The other two series, the Venustrilogy about a women determined to terraform that world at all costs is quite good also, and there is the Watchstar trilogy which I know nothing about. Nor have I read any of her one-off novels, so please do tell me about them.
Born March 20, 1950 — William Hurt, 70. He made his first film appearance as a troubled scientist in Ken Russell’s Altered States, a history-making film indeed. He’s next up as Doug Tate in Alice, a Woody Allen film. Breaking his run of weird roles, he shows in it’s that not bad really to be Lost in Space as Professor John Robinson. Dark City and the phenomenal role of Inspector Frank Bumstead follows for him. He was in A.I. Artificial Intelligence as Professor Allen Hobby and performed the character of William Marshal in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, Up next was horror film Hellgate and his role as Warren Mills which spiked a lot watchable than The Host and Jebediah character from Winter’s Tale as adapted from the Mark Helprin novel was interesting as wax the entire film. His final, to date that is, is in Avengers: Infinity War as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Two series roles of notes, the first being in the SyFy Frank Herbert’s Dune as Duke Leto I Atreides. Confession: the digitised blue eyes bugged me so much that I couldn’t watch it. The other role worth noting is him as Hrothgar in Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands.
Born March 20, 1955 — Nina Kiriki Hoffman, 65. Her first novel, The Thread That Binds the Bones, won the Bram Stoker Award for first novel. In addition, her short story “Trophy Wives” won a Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Other novels include The Silent Strength of Stones (a sequel to Thread), A Fistful of Sky, and A Stir of Bones. All are excellent. Most of her work has a strong sense of regionalism being set In either California or the Pacific Northwest.
Born March 20, 1979 — Freema Agyeman, 41. Best-known for playing Martha Jones in Doctor Who, companion to the Tenth Doctor. She reprised that role briefly in Torchwood. She voiced her character on The Infinite Quest, an animated Doctor Who serial. She was on Sense8 as Amanita Caplan. And some seventeen years ago, she was involved in a live production of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld’s Lords and Ladies held in Rollright Stone Circle Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. It was presented out of doors in the centre of two stone circles.
Macanudowonders what if traditional witches gained access to Lovecraftian monsters?
Bizarro finds the … bright? … side of a visit to the pediatrician.
Covid-19 is serious business. In an effort to control the spread of the virus, people across the world are being asked to practice social distancing and to stay home.
As part of that call, Apex Books and other publishers are providing free eBooks to help readers cope with the extended periods of inactivity and being housebound.
We hope this selection of Apex titles will help make this stressful time pass a little easier, a little quicker.
Books in the Covid-19 bundle:
Machine by Jennifer Pelland (dark SF)
Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka (dark SF)
Maze by J.M. McDermott (dark fantasy)
Beautiful Sorrows by Mercedes M. Yardley (horror)
Like Death by Tim Waggoner (horror)
(12) FREE MISS FISHER. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Even if you’ve already seen all the Miss Fisher
Mysteries episodes, here’s your chance to see the new (releasing 3/23/2020)
movie! Also starring David Tennant and (from The Good Wife/The Good Fight)
Cush Jumbo (she played Luca Quinn)
Per a Miss F movie thread on
Facebook from a few weeks back that I’m not sure where it is.
Starting today, we’re offering an extended 30-day free trial for new subscribers with code FREE30. Settle in for the streaming debut of Miss Fisher and The Crypt of Tears (3/23) and Deadwater Fell starring David Tennant and Cush Jumbo (4/6). Share the best TV from Britain and beyond.
Daniel Dern notes: “I’m not sure
whether they’d already been offering a 30-day free trial anyway. Their ‘Start
Free Trial’ page asks for, but doesn’t seem to require, a promo code. Since
we’ve already been subscribing to Acorn for a buncha months — watched/watching
Murdoch Mysteries, The Good Karma Hospital, the Brokenwood Mysteries,
Foyle’s War, etc.
“Mmm, they have Slings &
Arrows, which we saw years ago, but if you haven’t, recommended! (‘…this
darkly comic Canadian series follows the fortunes of a dysfunctional
Shakespearean theatre troupe, exposing the high drama, scorching battles, and
electrifying thrills that happen behind the scenes. Paul Gross (Tales of the
City, Due South [AND The Republic Of Doyle – DPD]) leads an outstanding
ensemble cast in ‘one of TV’s greatest shows’ (The A.V. Club).’”
(13) UNCLE TIMMY TRIBUTE. The Give Me Libertyconanthology E-ARC is available from Baen. The trade paperback will be
released in June.
Since its inception, LibertyCon has been a science fiction convention like no other. Held annually in Chattanooga, Tennessee, LibertyCon attracts the best of the best science fiction and fantasy writers, working scientists, fans, and organizers. Now, join Baen Books as we celebrate this unique institution with an anthology of all-new fiction and nonfiction—and some filk songs, too! A new Honorverse story by David Weber, and stories by Timothy Zahn, David Drake, Larry Correia, Jody Lynn Nye, Mike Massa, Charles E. Gannon and Sarah A. Hoyt, David B. Coe, Kacey Ezell and Christopher L. Smith, Bill Fawcett, and more. Plus, nonfiction by Les Johnson, filk (science fiction folk) songs by Gray Rinehart.
A portion of the sales will fund a scholarship set up in the name of superfan, TVA engineer, and LibertyCon founder Richard T. “Uncle Timmy” Bolgeo.
“Please leave the room, close the door and start a disinfection,” says a voice from the robot.
“It says it in Chinese as well now,” Simon Ellison, vice president of UVD Robots, tells me as he demonstrates the machine.
Through a glass window we watch as the self-driving machine navigates a mock-hospital room, where it kills microbes with a zap of ultraviolet light.
“We had been growing the business at quite a high pace – but the coronavirus has kind of rocketed the demand,” says chief executive, Per Juul Nielsen.
He says “truckloads” of robots have been shipped to China, in particular Wuhan. Sales elsewhere in Asia, and Europe are also up.
…Glowing like light sabres, eight bulbs emit concentrated UV-C ultraviolet light. This destroys bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes by damaging their DNA and RNA, so they can’t multiply.
It’s also hazardous to humans, so we wait outside. The job is done in 10-20 minutes. Afterwards there’s a smell, much like burned hair
“There are a lot of problematic organisms that give rise to infections,” explains Prof Hans Jørn Kolmos, a professor of clinical microbiology, at the University of Southern Denmark, which helped develop the robot.
“If you apply a proper dose of ultraviolet light in a proper period of time, then you can be pretty sure that you get rid of your organism.”
The fall-out from the coronavirus crisis is even being felt in space.
Rising infection rates near key technical centres in Louisiana and Mississippi mean the US space agency is suspending production and testing of its Moon rocket and capsule systems.
…Nasa said it had no choice but to suspend work on the construction of the rocket, called the Space Launch System, and the capsule, known as Orion.
The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi has had one confirmed infection among its staff, and although the Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana hasn’t yet had a COVID-19 case – growing infection rates in the communities around both complexes means a shut-down is the only sensible option.
(17) CORONAVIRUS ADVICE. This is how you get to be a
2000-year-old man. “Don’t Be A Spreader,” a message from Mel Brooks’
(18) CHANGES IN STORE. John Scalzi is among the writers
contributing the the Washington Post’s speculative“After
the Pandemic”. As he framed it at Whatever –
The folks over at the Washington Post have put together a piece on how the world will change after this pandemic — not in the huge ways, but in the smaller, day-to-day ways — and they asked me to write something for it. I did a piece on personal greetings, because, as it happens, it was a matter of some discussion on the cruise I just came back from.
[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, John King
Tarpinian, JJ, Rich Horton, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Willard
Stone, Jeffrey Smith, and Martin Morse Wooster for some of these stories. Title
credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
William Ledbetter, who administers
the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest for Baen Books and the National
Space Society, announced the ten
finalists of this year’s contest on March 7.
D.A. D’Amico, “The Boy Who Cried Fish”
Austin Eberle, “Stars of Their Own”
Meghan Feldman, “Dancing on Spun Sugar”
C. Stuart Hardwick, “Sample Return”
William Paul Jones, “Wander On”
K. D. Julicher, “Primum Non Nocere”
Kate MacEachern, “Spinners”
Wendy Nikel, “Bounty #1486”
M. T. Reiten, “Bagala Devi Objective”
Tiffany Smith, “The Caretaker”
Four of these writers have made it to the finals before. C. Stuart Hardwick has been a finalist every year since 2015 (placing second in 2018). Wendy Nikel was a finalist in 2018 (placing third) and 2019. M.T. Reiten made the finals in 2017 (placing third) and 2019 (placing third), and Tiffany Smith made the finals in 2019.
And several have been doing a quality of work that’s placed them in contention for other sff awards. C. Stuart Hardwick was voted a 2017 AnLab Readers’ Award for Best Novelette. K.D. Julicher was the inaugural Baen Fantasy Adventure Award winner in 2014, and was also a Published Finalist in the 2016 L. Ron Hubbard Achievement Awards for Writers of the Future Contest. Wendy Nikel was a 2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award finalist, and a 2018 WSFA Small Press Award Finalist.
“The National Space Society and Baen Books applaud the role that science fiction plays in advancing real science and have teamed up to sponsor this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen, the founder of Baen Books,” said William Ledbetter, contest administrator. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the winner to meets scientists and space advocates from around the world.”
The contest judges are Baen Books
editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel, David Afsharirad, and Baen author
The Grand Prize winner will be published as the featured story on
the Baen Books main website and paid at the normal paying rates for
professional story submittals, currently .08/word. The author will also receive
an engraved award, free entry into the 2020 International Space Development
Conference, a year’s membership in the National Space Society and a prize
package containing various Baen Books and National Space Society merchandise.
Second and Third place winners will receive free entry into the 2020
International Space Development Conference, a year’s membership in the National
Space Society and a prize package containing various Baen Books and National
Space Society merchandise.