(1) THE RIGHT STUFF, WITH A NEW WRINKLE.
Most of you may remember that at just 9 years old I raised funds via GoFundMe to attend my first Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama and that one day I will be an astronaut, scientist and an engineer. Since then outlets like GoFundMe not only help my STEM dreams come true but others as well. Just this year through GoFundMe I raised over $20,000 to send over a 1000 girls to see the movie Hidden Figures because it was important to me that girls know that with drive, determination, and hard work you be anything, a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, an astronaut or maybe the President of the United States even when the odds are against you!
I am 14 now and using my voice to not only bring girls of color to STEM/STEAM but all kids all over the U.S. and abroad.
I’m so excited about the upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time, which is scheduled to come out spring 2018.
My goal is to send a 1000 girls to see this movie.
Why? I have a lot of reasons but the main ones are:
- It shows young, black girls deserving a chance to be a part of the scifi cultural canon.
- It has a female protagonist in a science fiction film. A brown girl front and center who looks like me in the role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I’d never seen a girl of color in.
- Most impressive and importantly, it’s a fantasy film that is not about some white boys fighting evil, but about a black girl overcoming it.
Thanks to donors, including a $10,000 gift from JJ Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath, the goal has been exceeded. Richardson says that any funds raised above what is needed for the movie event will go to projects, events, and scholarships to bring diversity and gender equality to the STEM field.
(2) ELIMINATING CONFUSION. The opening weekend of Marvel’s Black Panther film has unsurprisingly been marked by attacks and trolling. No sooner had the screenings started, says Lauren Rearick at Teen Vogue, than posts began appearing on social media claiming that white people who attended showings of the movie were being attacked by black people.
The social media posts in question have used images from previous acts of violence that have absolutely nothing to do with the film. Among the photos being used include a woman who was attacked at a bar in Sweden last month, and Colbie Holderness, ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter who recently opened up about alleged domestic abuse.
People on social media are fighting back against the false claims by sharing links to Teen Vogue and other articles documenting the fake photos.
Trolls have also been targeting theatres showing the film, determined to set them straight about the fictional nature of the film:
Variety reported that Black Panther’s box office take after Thursday and Friday reached almost $76 million, marking the eighth-highest opening day ever, and third largest for Marvel, according to comScore.
(3) GIVE THE SHOGGOTH A TIME HUG. Dr. Janelle Shane, whose work with neural networks turned loose on generating Harry Potter fiction, Dungeons & Dragons game scripts, and Christmas Carols has previously featured on File 770, last week set her twisted brainchild to composing Candy Heart messages, using messages taken from real candy as input. The neural network not only uses words it is fed, but it creates what it thinks are similar words to use in its results as well. Some of the stranger romantic messages it generated:
TWEET UP BAT
LOVE 2000 HOGSYEA
YOU ARE BOA
Dr. Shane adds:
There was yet another category of message, a category you might be able to predict given the prevalence of four-letter words in the original dataset. The neural network thought of some nice new four-letter words to use. Unfortunately, some of those words already had other meanings. Let’s just say that the overall effect was surprisingly suggestive. Fill out the form here and I’ll send them to you.
(4) ORIGIN STORY. Oor Wombat has revealed the possible inspiration for her Hugo Whalefall speech:
(5) DELIBERATELY SCUTTLED. Barnes and Noble appears to be scaling back operations, as a prelude to a complete shutdown. But the ship didn’t sink on its own, says blogger audreyii_fic in “The entirely unnecessary demise of Barnes & Noble”:
On Monday morning, every single Barnes & Noble location – that’s 781 stores – told their full-time employees to pack up and leave. The eliminated positions were as follows: the head cashiers (those are the people responsible for handling the money), the receiving managers (the people responsible for bringing in product and making sure it goes where it should), the digital leads (the people responsible for solving Nook problems), the newsstand leads (the people responsible for distributing the magazines), and the bargain leads (the people responsible for keeping up the massive discount sections)…
We’re not talking post-holiday culling of seasonal workers. This was the Red Wedding. Every person laid off was a full-time employee. These were people for whom Barnes & Noble was a career. Most of them had given 5, 10, 20 years to the company. In most cases it was their sole source of income.
There was no warning.
But it gets worse…
The Barnes & Noble executives do not intend to rebuild.
How do I know this? Because every decision from the upper levels is being made solely to increase cash on hand.
(6) HOPES DASHED. Benjamin C. Kinney, whose essays on neuroscience have been featured on File 770 in the past, relates a tale of woe in “The Story that Never Was”:
I hit a writer milestone yesterday, though a sad one it is. You see, about a month ago, I had another short story accepted at a professional SFF magazine! I was just waiting on the contract to make it official, and then tell you all about my delightful Fairy Gentrification story. The eldritch diner with the portal between worlds was torn down for condos years ago – but there’s one last fairy chevalier stranded in this world, seeking out the owners’ son.
But, alas, it is not to be. Because the magazine has died, with my story in its casket.
The publication in question, PerVisions, has been defending a trademark suit against their original name, Persistent Visions, by an animation production company of the same name, and according to Publisher Christophe Pettus in a story on Locus Online:
The core reason for us having to stop accepting work is that our budget for acquisitions was largely consumed by a long and unpleasant dispute over the name of the publication. Although the other party was not in the publishing industry and we had no intention of causing any confusion with their services, ultimately, it became clear that no compromise except changing the name of the journal was possible.
Sadly, working through that legal issue was very expensive, and consumed our available capital. I would not ask to publish material that I could not pay a decent rate for, and keeping authors in suspense while the future of the journal is decided is not fair to them.
The website will remain live, so that stories they previously published will be preserved.
(7) BELIEVE IT OR NOT. Deadline reports that the 80s TV series The Greatest American Hero is getting a reboot:
With New Girl coming to an end, series’ co-star Hannah Simone has been tapped for the title role in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot The Greatest American Hero, from the Fresh Off the Boat duo of Rachna Fruchbom and Nahnatchka Khan. In the reimagining with a gender switch of Steven J. Cannell’s 1981 cult classic, the unlikely (super)hero at the center, played by William Katt in the original, is being reconceived as an Indian-American woman.
(8) STANDLEE STILL, STAY SILENT. Kevin Standlee has announced that he will not be adding any Hugo recommendations to the Bay Area Science Fiction Association’s list this year:
I’m not making any Hugo Award recommendations this year. As one of the members of this year’s Hugo Awards Administration Subcommittee, I don’t want my own personal preferences being seen as trying to influence anything. But BASFA continues with its practice of meeting to discuss works/people they think are Award-worthy… if you go to BASFA’s web site, you should see a link to this year’s recommendations. Or you can just download the 2018 BASFA Hugo recommendations PDF directly.
(9) NO ROOM AT THE INN. GenCon attendees with accessibility needs report that this year’s hotel room reservation system is unable to allocate ADA accessible rooms online, and that fans have to wait up to 2 weeks to hear if they have an ADA room. Meanwhile, the hotel room blocks continue to be sold online to other members, and hotels which run out of regular rooms are apparently assigning their ADA rooms to online registrants instead of holding them back for accessibility applicants.
Maria Turner: IMPORTANT PSA:
Housing will no longer be allowed to be traded to avoid cancellation fees.
AND people requesting ADA rooms may not get confirmation they actually got an ADA room for TWO WEEKS!!! This is totally unacceptable. Totally. I am awaiting a response from Gen Con on this matter.
Todd Bunt: I am sad today. My friend a disabled veteran cannot get a room this year since there were no ADA room reserved. He has a hard time walking but the only room he can get is 10 miles away. Last years he got an ADA room in one of the hotels attached to the convention center. (t made it easy for him to go to the room to rest during the day. He was looking forward to going to GenCon this year but that was taken from him. Maybe next year they can hold some ADA rooms for those that need the help.
Daniel Lagos: Has anyone who needed an ADA room at any hotel in the Gencon block, who called and got the answering machine for the call center, actually gotten a call back yet?
I had an 8:44pm time for getting a room, and I left my information in my message. So far, I haven’t gotten a call yet. (more comments follow)
Doug Triplett: Arrrgh. I tried to call the ada line and they shut it off. Said it wasn’t working this weekend. Anyone else had an issue with that today. And in the portal the closest hotel is at least 10 miles away. This sucks!
Miriam Breslauer: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Gencon set my housing request time to 10:28 pm. Because I need an ADA room I had to call them. There was no one there, because it was outside business hours! WTF! I am beyond pissed. Hopefully, they just call me back tomorrow and there are magically still some rooms left.
Not cool Gencon. Not cool at all.
Maria Turner: Does anyone know where one submits an ADA complaint re the hotel reservation process icw a major convention?…
What is wrong with the process is the way the search criteria is processed.
1) ADA requirement is not a component of the housing acquisition query screen
2) Hotels with all available rooms are returned as available
3) it is not until a person goes to a hotel returned from the initial query that one requests an ADA room with no idea if there is even one available at that hotel or not
4) No one will confirm for me if hotels are selling ADA rooms to non-ADA attendees as current law provides if there is demand that exceeds their supply of non-ADA rooms
5) ADA attendees wait up to two weeks to receive confirmation that their reservation for the room and/or hotel they requested is accepted
6) non-ADA attendees receive confirmation immediately their reservation was accepted.
7) ADA attendees may be moved to other hotels
I’ve been back and forth with Mike Boozer regarding the process, and he’s unresponsive citing supply and demand when that’s not the issue.
All the people I know who have obtained ADA rooms have had to do so out of block. I’m not paying $770/night at the JW, so we’ll likely be commuting if we don’t get a room via Authors/Artists housing block this weekend.
ADA Room checkbox needs to sit on that initial screen, the available hotels list returned should be only hotels with ADA room availability.
Thus far, there do not appear to be any posts on Gencon’s Facebook page which address the situation.
(10) ECLECTIC LADY. Janelle Monáe, who starred in the Hugo-nominated Hidden Figures as well as releasing Afrofuturist music albums The ArchAndroid, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), and The Electric Lady (which was nominated for a Tiptree Award in 2014) has announced a new SFFnal album Dirty Computer:
Janelle Monáe has confirmed early details of her follow up to 2013 album The Electric Lady. Titled Dirty Computer, the album currently has no release date but a trailer starring Monáe alongside actress Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok and the upcoming Annihilation) can be seen below.
- Born February 17, 1912 – Andre Norton, Author (Beastmaster, Witch World)
- Born February 17, 1925 – Hal Holbrook, Actor (Capricorn One, Creepshow)
- Born February 17, 1954 – Rene Russo, Actor (The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Thor)
- Born February 17, 1981 – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Actor (Inception, Looper)
- Born February 17, 1991 – Bonnie Wright, Actor (Harry Potter)
(12) WALKAWAY GONE WALKABOUT. Cory Doctorow, author of 2017’s Walkaway, will be doing a Down Under book tour for the novel starting next week, with stops in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide in Australia, and Wellington in New Zealand. Perhaps he’ll wave to Camestros as he passes through Aberdeen.
(13) MOUNT TSUNDOKU, IN 12 PARTS. Grant Snider’s Incidental Comics features a story which may sound familiar to many Filers: My Bookshelf
(14) A NOVEL WAY TO DEAL WITH MARKETING SPAM.
(15) RE-VISITING A… ER, CLASSIC? According to SyFy, a feature film version of the TV series “V” is in the works:
Desilu Studios has announced it’s going to bring V The Movie, based on the classic 1983 miniseries, to theaters in a big-budget film version that will be written and directed by Kenneth Johnson, creator of the original show.
The two-part miniseries aired on NBC in 1983 and chronicled an invasion of Earth by vicious reptilian aliens who disguised themselves as friendly humanoids, triggering a human resistance movement. A metaphor for revolution against a fascist government, V was hugely popular with audiences, spawning a 1984 sequel, V: The Final Battle, a short-lived 1985 show called V: The Series, and a 2009 reboot that lasted for two seasons on ABC.
Casting, production details, and a release date for V The Movie are all yet to be determined.
(16) MORE YOUNG PEOPLE READ OLD SFF. This time out, James Davis Nicoll has them reading Tanith Lee’s horror story “The Gorgon”, and the reactions cross the whole spectrum, from “intriguing and mysterious” to “annoying and racist”, with some bonus commentary on imprudent alcohol consumption.
(17) THE NO AWARD AWARD. In the February 2, 2018, issue of the Times Literary Supplement, J.C. says:
In early December, we stumbled on a blog at the Paris Review Daily site, written by Ursula K. Le Guin, on the subject of one of our most coveted awards, the Jean-Paul Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal. It is open to any writer who has refused a literary prize.
“I first learned about the Sartre Prize from NB”, Ms Le Guin wrote, “the last page of London’s Times Literary Supplement, signed by J.C. The fame of the award, named for the writer who refused the Nobel in 1964, is or anyhow should be growing fast.” Ms Le Guin flattered us further by quoting from a past NB: “So great is the status of the Jean-Paul Sartre Prize for Prize Refusal that writers all over Europe and America are turning down awards in the hope of being nominated for a Sartre”. As we noted at the time, and Ms Le Guin repeated it, “The Sartre Prize itself has never been refused”…
Ursula Le Guin died on January 22, aged eighty-eight. She left us with an idea, however: “I do hope you will recommend me to the Basement Labyrinth so that I can refuse to be even nominated, thus earning the Pre-Refusal of Awards Award, which has yet to be named”. It has a name now: The Ursula K. Le Guin Prize, for writers who refuse shortlisting, longlisting and any other form of nomination for literary prizes. The essay, “A Much Needed Literary Award”, is included in her final book, No Time To Spare: Thinking About What Matters, published in December last year.
(18) MARKET REPORT. David Steffen has compiled the “SFWA Market Report for February” for the SFWA Blog, listing those publications which are opening or closing for submissions.
(19) STROSS SHOUTS AT CLOUDS. Not every SF work needs to conform to strict worldbuilding standards, writes Cora Buhlert “In Defence of Wallpaper Science Fiction”:
A few days ago, Paul Weimer pointed me on Twitter to this post by Charles Stross in which Stross laments the current state of the science fiction genre, because a lot of SF writers these days focus more on plot, action, characters and their relationships than on worldbuilding, particularly on economics, which is the aspect of worldbuilding that is closest to Stross’ heart.
Whenever Stross posts a variation of this “other people are doing science fiction wrong” rant, it inevitably gets my hackles up…
That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a kernel of truth in Stross’ post. Because all too often, things show up in science fiction, just because “that’s the way things are”, whether in genre or life, regardless if this makes sense in this particular setting. The prevalence of Galactic Empires vaguely modeled on the Roman or British Empire in science fiction is a result of tropes being imported from other genre works unexamined, as is the fact that every future military ever is either modelled on the US Marine Corps of the 20th/21st centuries or the British Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th centuries and that every starship is modelled on a modern aircraft carrier…
So if all that Stross’ post did was implore science fiction writers to interrogate their worldbuilding choices and ask themselves “Why did I choose this?” and “Does this even make sense for the world that I built and if not, how can I make it fit?”, I would probably have heartily applauded. However, that’s not all he does.
(20) THE PUNCH LINE. So an SFF writer, a zombie, and a cat walk into a bar…
(21) THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. A Kickstarter has gone live for Tiny Wastelands, a post-apocalyptic RPG, and it’s already blown way past its goal in the first few days, racking up $22,906 in pledges against its original goal of $6,000.
Tiny Wastelands is post-apocalyptic roleplaying in a minimalist package! Using the rules in this book, you’ll be able to play survivors of lost and destroyed civilizations, mutants rampaging the wastelands and so, so much more.
Stretch goals include additional micro-settings for the game written by various authors, including this one already achieved:
$14,000: Paul Weimer takes us to High Plains Drift!
“The High Plains of the Dakotas are wide, flat, and deadly. Between the mutant prairie dogs, what lurks in the minuteman silos, and the farmers turned bandits who have adapted farm tractors to war vehicles, survival on the plains is nasty, brutish and short.
What makes it unique? Farm Tractor war vehicles, mutant wildlife and endless horizons in a hardscrabble world.”
(22) WHICH CAME FIRST? Hampus Eckerman believes that Filers will enjoy this SFF film short from 2016:
[Thanks to Camestros Felapton, Cora Buhlert, Hampus Eckerman, lauowolf, PJ Evans, RedWombat, Standback for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 Contributing Editor of the Day JJ.]