Pixel Scroll 6/3/18 And The Gates Scrolled Open. “It’s Old Filer; Pixel Means Friend”

(1) OVERCOMER. Robyn Bennis provides “A Debut Author’s Guide to Social Anxiety”.

….If, on the other hand, the above feels like a gross exaggeration of your social anxiety, then perhaps I do have a handful of weird old tips for you.

Perhaps the most important thing is to have someone on your side. I am extremely lucky to have talented and fearless people who want me to succeed, and it has helped immeasurably. Now, this may seem like a bit of a paradox. Social anxiety can make recruiting your friends not just a Herculean task, but a mild imposition on them, and therefore an impossible request. “How can I make such a request,” you say, “as worthless and unworthy as I am? My friend surely has better things to do—like staring into space or streaming the complete run of She’s the Sheriff. I can’t let them waste their time on me.”

To get over this, the first thing you have to do is acknowledge that your brain is lying to you. I mean, Suzanne Somers is great and all, but that show just doesn’t hold up. Good acting can only go so far in saving such a horrible premise.

Oh, and your brain is also lying about your worthlessness. You are worthy and deserving of the help of others. But seriously, who the hell thought that show was a good idea?

(2) THE BOVA ERA. Do my eyes deceive me, a kind word for Analog? Well, not about just any issue — James Davis Nicoll reviews the Special Women’s Issue from June 1977 in “Nothing Without a Woman or a Girl”. (So, perhaps Galactic Journey will say something kind about the magazine in another 14 years?)

I have excoriated Ben Bova’s fiction in the past, but I have nothing but admiration for his work as editor for Analog. While Disco-Era Analog might seem a bit stodgy to modern eyes, at the time Bova was a breath of fresh air. Rather than settle for being a second-rate Campbell, he did his best to be a first-rate Bova. He recruited new authors, many of whom differed (excitingly) from Analog’s Old Guard. He also bought more stories by women than did his predecessor1. While some old guard objected to Bova’s direction, enough readers enjoyed it to give him a remarkable six Best Editor Hugo Awards, as well as one nomination for the same category….

Eyes of Amber won the Hugo. The Screwfly Solution won a Nebula. Two major awards for stories from one issue is remarkable. Other stories, such as the Tellure, may not have won accolades but were memorable enough for me to remember as soon as I laid eye on them. All things considered, this was a pretty awesome read to be my third ever issue of Analog. It’s no surprise that Bova was nominated for a Hugo on the basis of his 1977 work.

(3) ON THE TABLE. E.D.E. Bell lists five vegan foods to try:

…In my mind, whenever someone asks what could be vegan about fantasy, it proves to me that they’ve never been a vegan reading fantasy. In addition to a lot of the violence and war in the genre (it’s usually a central component, even outside of grimdark), the best scenes feature someone riding their steed in a fine leather vest to grab a hock of ham. I’m not even sure I know what hocks are, but I have concluded they are key to the development of fantasy heroes. So, you know, my fiction is just focused a bit differently. In fact, I think that diversity and exploration is what fantasy is all about.

I’m not here to get into all of that, though. I’m here to talk about one of Cat’s and my favorite subjects: yummy food. Now, I’m not an authority on gourmet cuisine. Go to a vegan restaurant or check out many amazing online vegan chefs for that. (I’m particularly fond of Richa Hingle.) Hey, I’m not even a great cook. But I haven’t eaten meat in almost a quarter century, so I can definitely speak to “what we eat.” Don’t worry. This is just a quick blog to spark some ideas. But if you don’t mind eating plants, here are five simple foods you could give a spin….

(4) WHERE RIVERS AND FANS MEET. The 2018 Confluence will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel from July 27-29, with Guest of Honor Catherynne M. Valente and special music guest S.J “Sooj” Tucker.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first Confluence, although it is not the 30th Confluence (they had to skip 1999 and 2013).

(5) TOURISTS. Stormtroopers and other Imperial military personnel dropped in to see the sf exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of History today. (Photo by John King Tarpinian.)

(6) HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY

  • Born June 2, 1920 — Bob Madle, one of only two surviving attendees of the very first Worldcon. It’s possible Bob is the oldest living SF fan.

(7) COMICS SECTION.

(8) PIONEER FILK. Rob Hansen has added what appears to be the earliest filking fanzine produced in the UK to his THEN fanhistory site: “Songs From Space (1957)”.

Presented here is what appears to be the earliest filking fanzine published in the UK, which is dated August 1957. It was published by Eric Bentcliffe, reworked lyrics were by Sandy Sandfield, and artwork by Eddie Jones.

The final song, Space Club Drag, is inspired by The Space Club, a clubroom for London fandom that Helen Winick had tried to establish around the turn of the year.

(9) OPENING IN JUNE. Parade’s Lambeth Hochwald, in “Incredibles 2: The 10 Most Incredible Reasons We Love the Parr Family”, interviews the cast and writer/director Brad Bird, who says that the two Incredibles films “major in family and minor in superheroes.”

The most incredible family of superheroes is back. The Parrs, the lovable, fearless family of five we first met in 2004 in The Incredibles, will return for another animated adventure when Disney-Pixar’s Incredibles 2 arrives in theaters June 15.

And although 14 years have passed, it’s like the clock has barely ticked at all: The new movie picks up seconds after the first one ended, with the same cast of characters. Elastigirl (voiced by Holly Hunter) hurtles back into superhero work, while her husband, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), remains behind as a stay-at-home dad with the couple’s three kids, teenage Violet (Sarah Vowell), adolescent Dash (newcomer Huck Milner) and baby Jack-Jack.

(10) CONCAROLINAS. David Weber told his Facebook followers the terms under which he agreed to be a ConCarolinas special guest next year.

I have been in contact with Jada at ConCarolinas by Messenger, and she tells me that they will be making a live announcement at closing ceremonies, with the video to be on their Facebook group, which will make clear that going forward they will be inviting guests they feel are genre-related and that as a convention which has never taken a political stance they will not tolerate being told that guests must lean one way or another or that guests are uninvitable because of their political stances. They will expect anyone who attends to be able to be in a room with another person who disagrees with him/her and be civil to one another. They will also not be beholden to bullies or trolls and will not disinvite guests after such attacks. They will also mention what happened to John, and state that the mutual decision for him not to attend was wrong and that they apologize to John for the hurt and the frustration that was caused by their decision and for the fact that their initial statement did not make it clear that HE was the one being harassed and bullied by vile, unfounded allegations (which went so far as to drag his wife into the fire) and threats to harass him at the con which would have turned a regional con into a battleground. On that basis, I have agreed to attend the con as a special guest next year.

Weber also says the convention will give him a contract about his appearance.

Weber wrote at length about his expectations yesterday, concluding —

People, the object is to fix the problem, not to pile on (from either side) and not for anybody to issue masochistic mea culpas. But there is a point at which grown-ups have to begin the “fix the problem” conversation by acknowledging that they screwed up and publicly apologizing to the object of their screwing up. To be blunt, ConCarolinas owes John Ringo a public apology for not making clear who was the victim and strongly condemning the hatemongers who attacked him AS HATEMONGERS.

Coming from Weber, that is perhaps not a surprising characterization of those who had issues with Ringo’s selection as a special guest.

The ConCarolinas chair delivered the statement she negotiated with Weber this afternoon at closing ceremonies – here is the video.

Weber’s reaction to the video is:

At the moment, I am VERY satisfied. I’m sure that some people are going to wish that there’d been more self-flagellation and public contrition, but she was reading a prepared statement that she wanted to be sure got every point covered. Under the circumstances, I think this is a positive admission of the mistakes that were made, an apology to John, a proper characterization of the vileness of the allegations thundered against him, and a very decent starting point to move forward. And speaking as someone who’s had to eat a little crow in public himself upon occasion, I know how hard it is — especially coming back after the fact — to apologize in a case like this.

(11) FAN OVERBOARD. Honor Harrington fandom has been experiencing some rough sailing. Longtime volunteer Tom Coonradt announced his retirement as the Senior Master Chief Petty Officer of the Royal Manticoran Navy due to a conflict with leadership.

…It is with a very heavy heart that I say this.

It is my opinion that John Roberts is the worst possible fit for a first space lord this, or any, Organization could have.

Since before John Roberts became first space lord he has treated me with disdain, condescension, and disrespect. And I know I am not the only one. Culminating with a public outburst at a respected member of this organization at Manticon.

John Roberts refuses to communicate with me in writing, he says because he communicates poorly in writing. My concern is that there is ZERO accountability there. There is no recording of a spoken conversation that can keep a first space lord honest. He has out rightly and in writing (ironically) refused to discuss anything with me at all in writing, even if it is a simple message of “I want to talk to you about this topic, when can I call you?” I had on the phone, only a few short weeks ago, given him several possible solutions to our communication issue. When I thought we had reached a compromise, the only thing he sent me, ironically enough, is the new policy on how to replace the SMCPON. One he refused to discuss further with me after I gave my impressions.

He has no ability to be flexible, and in fact will refuse to listen or even acknowledge any advice, idea or criticism that he doesn’t agree with….

The group’s website defines The First Space Lord as the Senior Executive Vice President of The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association, Inc.

The full text of Coonradt’s statement can be found attached to a comment on this post.

(12) DEPT. OF HARD TO KEEP SFF AHEAD OF REALITY. At TechCrunch “‘Upgrade’ director Leigh Whannell talks low-budget worldbuilding”.

TechCrunch: It’s interesting that it came from your imagination, because in some ways it feels very prescient. We had our own robotics event a couple of weeks ago and one of the big moments onstage was someone in a wheelchair who was able to take a few steps thanks to an exoskeleton.

Whannell: So the exoskeleton that helps people with paralysis walk and move, this movie is the internalized version of that, where it goes one step further and there’s nothing exterior. It’s a chip.

It has been interesting to watch the world catch up to my script. Because when I wrote the first draft of this script, automated cars and smart kitchens were still science fiction. And in the ensuing years, they’ve become ubiquitous. I mean, my wife’s car parks itself and talks to her. And my daughter thinks it’s perfectly normal to have a voice talking to her in the kitchen, and she asks it to play songs and it does. So in a way I feel like I’m living in the world of the movie I wrote all those years ago.

(13) PARVUS IS OPEN. Colin Coyle of Parvus Press says they are open for novel and novella submissions until July 15. See details on the publisher’s website under Submissions.

Coyle also notes that their Kickstarter for If This Goes On edited by Cat Rambo has raised $6,074 of its $10,000 goal in the first four days.

(14) DEPARTMENT OF MYSTERIOUS HINTS. Here’s your first clue:

(15) HEARTS OF TABAT. Marion Deeds reviews Cat Rambo’s Hearts of Tabat at Fantasy Literature.

…On the surface, Hearts of Tabat might be a slightly satirical comedy-of-manners, but the Beasts are growing restless and rebellious, and something (or someone) is trying to siphon away the magic that protects the land. When, abruptly, Bella Kanto is accused of sorcery and exiled, it is clear something is very wrong.

Rambo’s world is beautifully described, complex and plausible. Good people are complicated, and aren’t always good. Sebastiano works daily with the Beasts, seeing their natures, yet spouts standard bigoted lines about how they can’t be accorded the same rights as humans. Adelina’s infatuation with Eloquence causes her to ignore her own better judgment. Eloquence himself is charming and seductive, but we see a different side of him at home with his sisters.

A large part of the Tabat society is religion. The Trade Gods and the Moon Temples, with their different belief systems, are depicted convincingly. The effects of poverty are not romanticized. Frankly, Obedience has it so bad at home that when she is abducted along with a magic student I can only think that’s going to be a step up for her….

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Carl Slaughter, Cat Rambo, Jack Lint, Rich Lynch, Colin Coyle, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories, Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Ingvar.]

Lunacon 2017 Names Guests of Honor

The Guests of Honor at Lunacon 2017 will be Writer Ben Bova and Fan Roberta Rogow. In addition, the convention will feature the Boogie Knights as Musical Guests.

  • Ben Bova is the author of some 124 works of science fact and fiction, including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award-winning novel Titan (2007, part of the Grand Tour series. He has also written the Exiles and Kinsman series. Bova is a six-time Hugo Award winner as Best Professional Editor for Analog, where he succeeded the legendary John W. Campbell, Jr. He went on to be editor of Omni Magazine. A scientist as well as a science writer, in the 1950s, Dr. Bova predicted a U.S. – Soviet Space Race and was involved in Project Vanguard as a technical writer during the early days of the U.S. Space Program. Additionally, he is a past president of both the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America. Other honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, the Robert A. Heinlein Award, as well as the Lunarians’ Isaac Asimov Memorial Award. His latest novels (both available from Tor Books) are Power Surge and Death Wave.
  • Roberta Rogow is an omnifan. While perhaps best-known to Lunacon attendees as a filk singer-songwriter – where her achievements earned her induction into the Filk Hall of Fame – she was also a trailblazer in Star Trek Fandom, publishing some of its earliest fanzines and contributing fan-fiction to the genre. Additionally, she is a costumer (her most memorable efforts are “Art Show” and “Bag Lady of Gor”) and a dealer in many convention Dealers’ Rooms. Branching out professionally, she is the author of Futurespeak, a dictionary of sf, fannish and media terms, and of speculative fiction and historical murder mysteries, notably a series featuring Oxford don Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and a young Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, and, more recently, a series set in an alternate North America ruled by Spain, the latest of which is Mischief in Manatas. She was also our Toastmistress at Lunacon 2002.
  • The Boogie Knights are a wildly popular, fan favorite filk group from Maryland who, since 1982, and with a varying membership, have been performing “songs of daring-do with nary a hey nonny nonny,” parodies of everything from commercial jingles to TV and movie themes, and from golden oldies to the latest top-40 songs, all done with a wicked humorous medieval or fantasy twist. Their newest CD, Wasted Days and Wasted Knights, is available via CD Baby.

John W. Upton, the Lunacon 2017 Chair, will also be inviting an Artist Guest of Honor.

Lunacon 2017 will be held on the weekend of April 7 – 9, 2017 at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown.

Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012)

Ernest Borgnine, actor, died July 8, aged 95. He won an Oscar for the lead role in Marty (1955). His genre roles included The Devil’s Rain (1975), The Ghost of Flight 401 (tv movie, 1978), The Black Hole (1979), Escape From New York and Deadly Blessing (both 1981), Airwolf (1983) and Alice in Wonderland (1985). Twice his career path crossed Harlan Ellison’s, when Borgnine was cast in The Oscar (1966, script by Ellison) and in the short-lived tv series Future Cop (1976-77) — a show whose makers Ellison and Ben Bova famously sued for plagiarism.

[Thanks to Steve Green for the story.]

Bova Column on SF Conventions

Ben Bova  devotes his latest column for the Naples News to science fiction conventions.

For example, some years ago in a hotel far, far away (it was in St. Louis, actually) the hotel staff took one look at the fans arriving for their convention and decided to treat them like scum. Service was worse than dismal. The hotel even shut down the elevators at midnight, which stranded late-night revelers in the lobby. I was among them and got into a fist fight (mild mannered me!) with a young elevator operator who refused to take a group of us to the floors where our rooms were located.

Within a week after that convention closed, several national aerospace organizations canceled their plans to hold meetings at that hotel; the hotel’s insurance carrier tripled the hotel’s rates, and a few other inconveniences were rained upon the hotel’s management and staff.

…Not the least being the installation of self-service elevator controls. The Chase-Park Plaza’s elevator operators were out of a job by 1974 when I was there for the Popular Culture Association convention.

[Via Tony Lewis on Smofs.]

John Schoenherr (1935-2010)

When I became an avid sf reader in the late 1960s every prozine on the local library shelves was digest-sized and there wasn’t a hint that the case had ever been any different.

Then I met LASFSian Ed Cox and saw his pulp magazine collection, filled with perfectly preserved copies of Thrilling Wonder, the pages inside still looking as white as the day the magazine appeared on the newsstand.

Another friend impressed me even more with the news that my favorite prozine had experimented with a large format during WWII — collectors called them “bedsheet Astoundings” — and had briefly revived the format (as Analog) just a few years before. I found them for sale in used bookstores and soon owned a copy of the most dramatic prozine cover ever, John Schoenherr’s depiction of a sandworm for the March 1965 Analog.

Now the artist has passed away at the age of 74. He died April 8. His son Ian mourned him, saying:

He was a man of many talents and I can’t say what he was best at, but he was, among countless other things, a great artist, a great husband to my mother for almost 50 years, and a great dad to my sister and me.

For science fiction fans the physical passing of John Schoenherr will represent perhaps the third time we’ve mourned his loss, because of the times he’s left the sf magazine field. The first came in the late 1960s when he stopped doing covers for Analog. John W. Campbell said in a 1967 letter: “We’re losing him now; we can’t match Reader’s Digest’s $3000 offers — nor the book illustration rates the big publishing houses give him. The man is good.”

However, following Campbell’s death in 1971, Ben Bova became editor of Analog and Schoenherr resumed working for the magazine. He produced 22 more covers in the next six years. That association ended again when Bova moved to Omni. Also, around that time Schoenherr began to focus on wildlife painting.

He would win a Caldecott Medal in 1988 for his work in Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon.

Schoenherr’s death has prompted some fans to wonder why an artist whose sf work was so esteemed practically never won awards and was never Worldcon guest of honor. John W. Campbell, in that same 1967 letter, bluntly answered: “Jack Schoenherr, probably the best artist science fiction ever had, got one Hugo once. He never attended a convention, never did any artwork for the fan magazines, never made personal friends.”

He did not court fandom, which may be all the answer needed. But he did make personal friends elsewhere as Carl Zimmer testifies in his reminiscence for Discover: “Everyone always joked that Jack was a great bear. It wasn’t just his ursine cast that earned him that name; it was also his combination of grouchiness and loyalty.”

In Jeopardy with John W. Campbell

Ben Bova listed the people he credits for helping him make it as a professional writer in an article for the Naples News:

No writer stands alone. We all owe our success, such as it is, to those who taught us, inspired us, helped us understand and persevere.

Editor John W. Campbell figures prominently in that list. Bova sold him several stories before meeting him face-to-face at a Worldcon in Washington, D.C. After shaking his hand, Campbell provocatively said: “This is 1963. No democracy has ever lasted longer than 50 years, so this is obviously the last year of America’s democracy.”

Bova dredged his memory to come up with the Jeopardy!-style question that matched Campbell’s bold declaration. And he guessed right. Can you? Click the link to check your answer.

[Thanks to David Klaus for the link.]

Snapshots 15

Six developments of interest to fans.

(1) In science fiction’s Golden Age, every author treasured those long, helpful rejection letters from the great John W. Campbell, right? Well, not quite everybody. After a certain point, Robert Heinlein was willing to content himself with a little less money if it meant he didn’t have to put up with Campbell’s annoying feedback:

I don’t think Fantasy and Science Fiction is riding the edge; I think they are just stingy.… Still, it is pleasanter than offering copy to John Campbell, having it bounced (he bounced both of my last two Hugo Award winners) —and then have to wade through ten pages of his arrogant insults, explaining to me why my story is no good.

(2) Comic book takes on real presidents.

(3) Charley McCue knows what appeals to Chronicles of the Dawn Patrol readers. He promotes a relaxacon to them saying: “No programing is planned but great IMing face to face in the Suite.”

(4) The Naples Press Club’s “Salute to Ben Bova” will take place January 25. For more details, see www.naplespressclub.org. The local paper helped promote the event by publishing a short autobiographical article by Bova:

One of my greatest lessons in journalism came one evening when one of the paper’s elder editors took me for a walk around the Inquirer building. Working men were sitting on the front steps of their row houses, reading the evening paper.

“If you want to write for newspapers,” the old man told me, “you’ve got to be able to take the most complicated things happening in the world and write it so that they can understand it.”

I never forgot that. Write clearly enough so that anyone who can read can understand your words.

(5) Science fiction artist Charles Schneeman’s papers are preserved in the UC Davis Special Collections:

The bulk of the collection is comprised of sketches, compositional studies, final artwork, a presentation portfolio, printer’s proofs, and magazine clippings from 1935-1963, with the majority from 1938-1942, that document Schneeman’s working process as an illustrator for Astounding Stories/Astounding Science Fiction and other publications. In addition to the science fiction genre, Schneeman illustrated romance magazines, drew humorous cartoons, and created historical and scientific illustrations.

(6) I was intrigued by Lee Strong’s review of Hancock, which not only praised and panned, but warned:

First of all, it was very foul mouthed, which is not my cup of tea. Much of the language seemed to be appropriate (?) given the situation but I still prefer my superheroes to limit themselves to “Blast!” and “Holy road wheels, Tankman!”

[Thanks to Michael Walsh, Roger Tener and Steve Davidson for links included in this story.]