Dublin Convention Centre is too small for the size of this convention. By
a lot. Thursday was chaos in the halls leading into the meeting rooms.
Packed solid with people trying to exit rooms where panels had ended and
others who were wanting to get into those same rooms for the next round
of panels. Convention Centre staff became the traffic police in a
mostly vain attempt to keep everybody moving.
Friday the chaos had abated by a bit, but there have still
been severe people flow problems. Overnight each floor of the
Convention Centre was taped off into queue lanes, one for each meeting
room. It’ll not quite an airport boarding lounge situation but very
similar. And this created addition confusion until, finally, everybody
started to figure it all out. But this system created lots
of delays and there are usually lines of people waiting access for
some rooms even after the scheduled panel starting time.
has resulted in plenty of people with frayed tempers, from what I’ve observed,
but no meltdowns. At least for now but there are still three days to
other thing I observed— the traffic police are not to be messed with!
More than one person was firmly directed to clear out of some area where
queues would be forming. Don’t think anybody has dared to jump a line
after seeing them in action!
Heicon Memories panel
opened with round of applause for Silverberg when he stated that this is his
66th Worldcon. He has the record, I think.
Tompkins, Ginjer Buchanan, Robert Silverberg, and Mary Burns.
Bill Burns and Geri Sullivan.
Unsurprisingly, most everybody in the room not only knew about the site,
they also were frequent visitors. And many of us even have Fanzines
hosted by the site!
Keith Kato’s Chili Party
…was held in Oscar Wilde’s House.
There was even a docent tour.
Ever since its opening in the mid-1990s, the Denver International Airport (DIA) has spawned countless conspiracy theories as to its dark and sinister nature. Now, there’s a gargoyle inside the terminal to confirm it’s all true.
Yesterday, to celebrate its 24th birthday, DIA gave all of the air travelers who wander its halls a gift: a Chatty Gargoyle.[…]
This is part of a larger campaign by the Denver Airport, dubbed #TheDenFiles, that gleefully invites any and all talk of mysterious goings-on in the catacombs that lie beneath. Or in some cases — right in plain sight.
(2) CHATTY SHATTY. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Have you ever had a set of refrigerator
poetry magnets? If so you may be ready for Shatoetry which is free on the Apple iOS App
Store as this is being typed. William Shatner recorded individual words, which
you can put together in any order. Each word has three levels of emphasis
available, and you can also add pauses of three different lengths. When you’re
ready, click a button and you will create a video with a selectable still-frame
Shatner background and audio of Shat “reading” your “poem.” Once you click, you
can send the video by email or post it on any of several social media sites.
The basic app doesn’t have a huge selection of words
available, but there are in-app purchases available for more bundles of words
and those are also free as this is being typed. If you want the
app, be sure to grab the extra word bundles before they start charging for them
again—there’s no telling how long these free offers will last.
(3) FUTURE TENSE. This month’s entry in the Future Tense fiction series is “Mpendulo:
The Answer,” by the South African film writer-director Nosipho
I know I’m right, but the class seems unhappy with my reasoning. How could these people create other humans with the sole purpose of killing them later for their organs? We all know people walking around with 3D-printed organs inside of them. We can’t conceive of one person letting themselves be sliced open and their organs given to another, let alone a whole government being party to it.
Well, I can conceive of things that the rest of them can’t. But I wouldn’t dare let them know that.
It was the strangest thing. I was having breakfast (3 PM, but breakfast time for me), I started to get up out of my chair, slipped, and while I was in no pain I couldn’t get up. After about 15 minutes Carol called an ambulance, they drove me 5 miles to the local hospital.
I was feeling no pain, but all the medics seemed concerned. They knocked me out, and when I woke up in the emergency room I had half a dozen catheters attached to me, draining what seemed like gallons of fluids out of me. When I’d seen the doctor for my regular check-up a month earlier I weighed 255, about 30 more than usual. When I arrived at the hospital I was 256. And three days later, after draining all these fluids, I was 208 — which I am tonight, a month after this whole thing began.
Anyway, I did 9 days in the emergency room and 10 days in rehab. Been home for a few days, feeling pretty good, but sleeping about 12-15 hours a day while I get my strength back…which means I am not quite keeping up with the writing and editing (tho I’m getting closer), and I’m probably not keeping up with e-mails. I thank those of you who sent your best wishes, and if I didn’t reply it really wasn’t bad manners.
Almost certainly gonna miss Writers of the Future in 4 or 5 weeks, but we should make Midwestcon and DragonCon, where you can see the new improved skinny (well, skinnier) me.
(5) BE ON THE LOOKOUT. Cedar Sanderson shares how pros evaluate opportunities to contribute work to an anthology in “Relationships and Anthologies” at Mad Genius Club.
Warning Flag #2: No transparency about payment or royalties. Not all anthologies will pay up front. Some will pay up front but no royalties, and some will only pay royalties. You should know what to expect going into it. You should not be told ‘we’ll pay royalties after our costs are met’ unless you are also given some idea of what those costs are, and an accounting (and no, anthologies that are proudly using public domain art for covers should not be costing much to produce). Yes, I realize this isn’t ‘how the publishing business works’ which is bullshit, and the inherent corruption it opens up by playing along will only end when the authors stop allowing themselves to be milked without feed. I’ve taken part in ‘paid up front’ and one ‘paid plus royalties’ anthology, and they left me feeling happy and like I’d do it again. My friends who were told ‘we’ll pay you when we meet our costs’ are still waiting, years later. They’ll never see money.
(6) DOC WEIR AWARD. Attention Eastercon members! Ytterbium’s Progress Report 3 has this note:
The Doc Weir Award
Regular Eastercon attendees will know that the members of the convention annually vote on who should receive the Doc Weir Award for making a significant but largely unsung contribution to fandom. Sadly, many of the earlier winners were so unsung that fans today know little or nothing about them or their fannish activities. To remind people of their contributions, a brief biography of the winners is being compiled. It will be available online but if you would like to request a printed copy then please email email@example.com before Sunday, March 17th.
Bill Burns of eFanzines has more info on the Doc Weir Award, and a list of all winners from 1963 to 2018 here.
When you were tasked with creating “Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham,” was the original idea that it be a “backdoor prequel,” or was that something you decided to reverse engineer into a companion piece to Spider-Verse?
Miguel Jiron: From the beginning, we were like, we would love for this classic cartoon to open up our movie like how they used to do back in the day. And pretty early on we were like, if it’s going to screen in front of the movie, it would be cool to see Ham’s last moments in his world before he comes to the [Spider-Verse]. So pretty early on we brainstormed something we thought would be a perfect way to connect to the film and see them together.
(8) WORKS FOR ME. This
was Sarah Gailey’s latest appeal for readers to sign up for their newsletter:
(9) SIGNED, YOUR CREDENTIAL. Tabitha King made a serious point, but the not-so-serious reply was clever:
…Kramer was wheeled into his first appearance hearing with his breathing tank. He claimed he hasn’t been allowed to talk to his lawyer and said he wasn’t sure what was going on.
At the hearing, the judge granted Kramer a $22,200 bond; however, even if he posts bond, he’ll remain behind bars because he’s also being held on a probation violation. As part of the probation violation, he’ll appear in court on March 22 at 8:30 a.m.
… He was under monitored house arrest since late 2013 when he was convicted of child molestation.
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told FOX 5 News when house arrest ended in December of last year Kramer was put on probation.
One of the conditions was no contact with children.
“He’s being held without bond because there’s a probation warrant. That’s why he’s being held without bond,” said Porter.
Porter said Kramer is facing a misdemeanor charge of a sexual offender photographing a minor without consent.
The DA told FOX 5 News he’s moving forward with revocation of probation for Kramer which could mean a lengthy stay behind bars.
“We need to go back and revoke his first offender and incarcerate him. He faces up to 60 years in prison,” said Porter.
(11) ASIMOV OBIT. Janet Jeppson Asimov (1926-2019) died February
25. The SF Encyclopedia has her full genre biography.
The New York Times obituary notes —
A psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, she was the beloved widow of Isaac Asimov, as well as the former director of training at the William Alanson White Institute, author of around two dozen books, and a former syndicated science columnist for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate.
(12) TODAY IN HISTORY.
March 1, 1933 – King Kong has its world premiere in New York.
(13) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
by Cat Eldridge.]
Born March 2, 1904 — Theodor Seuss Geisel. Ahhh, Dr. Seuss. I confess that the only books I’ve read by him are How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and Green Eggs and Ham, an exercise that took maybe fifteen minutes. Did you know that Horton Hears a Who! was animatedat a running time of a half hour? Who thought it was a good idea to make a two-hour live film of The Grinch? (Died 1991.)
Born March 2, 1939 – jan howard finder. No, I’m not going to be do him justice here. He was a SF writer, filker, cosplayer, and of course fan. He was nicknamed The Wombat as a sign of affection and ConFrancisco (1993 Worldcon) was only one of at least eight cons that he was fan guest of honor at. Finder has even been tuckerized when Anne McCaffrey named a character for him. (Died 2013.)
Born March 2, 1943 — Peter Straub, 76. Horror writer who won the World Fantasy Award for Koko and the August Derleth Award for Floating Dragon. He’s co-authored several novels with Stephen King, The Talisman which itself won a World Fantasy Award, and Black House. Both The Throat and In the Night Roomwon Bram Stoker Awards as did 5 Stories, a short collection by him. Ok you know I’m impressed by Awards, but fuck this is impressed!
Born March 2, 1949 — Gates McFadden, 70. Best known obviously for playing Dr. Beverly Crusher in the Star Trek: The Next Generation and in the four films spawned out of the series. More interestingly for me is she was involved in the production of Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal as Henson’s choreographer which is her second profession under the name of Cheryl McFadden.
Born March 2, 1960 — Peter F. Hamilton, 59. I read and quite enjoyed his Night’s Dawn Trilogy when it came out and I’m fairly sure that I’ve read Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained as they sound familiar. (Too much genre fiction read over the years to remember everything…) What else have y’all read by him?
Born March 2, 1966 — Ann Leckie, 53. Ancillary Justice won the Hugo Award for Best Novel and the Nebula Award, Kitschies Award Golden Tentacle, Locus Award for Best First Novel, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and the BSFA Award. Shit man. Her sequels Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy did not win awards but are no less impressive.
Born March 2, 1968 — Daniel Craig, 51. Obviously Bond in the present-day series of films which I like a lot, but also in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider as Alex West, Lord Asriel In the film adaptation of Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass, in SF horror film The Invasion as Ben Driscoll, in the very weird Cowboys & Aliens as Jake Lonergan, voicing Ivan Ivanovitch Sakharine / Red Rackham in The Adventures of Tintin and an uncredited appearence as Stormtrooper FN-1824 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Born March 2, 1981 — Bryce Dallas Howard, 38. Started her genre career in How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a Surprised Who. I’d like to stay it got better but her next two roles were in The Village as Ivy Elizabeth Walker and in Lady in the Water as Story. She finally scored a good role in Spider-Man 3 as Gwen Stacy before landing roles in The Twilight Saga franchise as Victoria and in the Jurassic World franchise as Claire Dearing.
The party may have been How to Train Your Dragon-themed, but Jennifer Garner is now learning how not to embarrass your child!
[…] In honor of [her son’s birthday] bash, Garner, 46, dressed up as Astrid from the animated film, wearing blue and orange face paint, a fur shawl, arm sleeves, a pointy, leather skirt with leggings underneath, and fur boots.
But as she went to present her son with a chocolate cake featuring the dragon Toothless’ eyes around the edges, Garner found out the hard way that her son was already becoming embarrassed.
“Well, guess what. It turns out 7 is the age my kid stops thinking it’s cool when I dress up for the party,” she captioned the happy photo.
(16) YARNSPINNER. The Raksura Colony Tree
Project, a collective
art/craft project will be displayed at WorldCon 77. Cora Buhlert says, “I
already got out my crochet hooks and searched my yarn stash and it’s probably
of interest to other Filers as well.”
If you’re coming to Dublin to join in the fun and are interested in creating things with needle and thread, this is your chance to be an active part in a community art project.
Martha Wells’ “Books of the Raksura”-Series was nominated for a Best Series Hugo in 2018. One of the things that drew me into the series was the world-building – a colony living in a giant mountain tree that’s studded with platforms all around that are used by the inhabitants for all kinds of different things – hunting, gardening, fishing, outlooks for the guards … a whole ecosystem – so how might that actually look like? I made a start, just to try things out…
(17) TRAPPED IN ASPIC. Andrew
Porter copied this to his list: “Where do you get your weird ideas from (Cover
I’m going to tell you a story. This is about being nominated for the Nebula Awards , and accusations, and fury. I’m going to tell it slow and in much detail as I can, because I want to, and because context is important. I have seen much slinging of words but no context.
When I started writing this, it was 8PM. I had intended to use the writing of this piece as a piece of string, to re-order my own thoughts and try to figure out what the hell I’m doing here . But in the writing of this I’ve gone from trying to figure out this madness to just being jaded. My inboxes are inundated with legions, my notifications toss up numbers like a slot machine, and I am absolutely done with explaining myself to random asshats on Twitter who demand answers under fake names and profile pictures.
So I’m going to chronicle this.
And at the end of it you may judge whether I have acted with the best information available to me, or not.
Tesla has announced it will start selling a version of its Model 3 in the US at a price of $35,000 (£26,400), finally delivering on a promise it made more than two years ago.
To help lower the price the firm plans to close showrooms and is switching to an online-only sales model.
The electric car company announced the Model 3 car in 2016 as an alternative to its luxury offerings.
However, as recently as September, the average selling price exceeded $50,000.
Closing physical stores will allow the firm to cut costs by about 5%, savings it is using to reduce prices across its line-up of vehicles, chief executive Elon Musk said.
…In a blog post, Tesla said a test drive was not needed because you can return a car within seven days, or after driving 1,000 miles, and get a full refund.
“Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free,” the blog said.
(20) UP, UP, AND AWAY. Video of countdown, launch, and 1st-stage recovery at NPR: “SpaceX Launches Capsule Bound For International Space Station”. Chip Hitchcock sent the link with a comment, “I’m sure it’s happened before, but this is the first launch I remember where voice doing the countdown was female. Step by step….”
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on schedule at 2:49 a.m. Saturday.
It’s a test flight without crew aboard, designed to demonstrate the potential for carrying astronauts into orbit on a commercial spacecraft.
A crowd cheered as the rocket blasted off in a ball of fire and smoke and flash of light early Saturday, within minutes reaching speeds upwards of 4,000 mph as it gained altitude.
The rocket and capsule separated about 11 minutes after launch. Crew Dragon will go on to autonomously dock with the International Space Station at about 6 a.m. ET Sunday. Plans call for it to remain docked with the station for five days. On March 8, it will undock and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean around 8:45 a.m. ET.
…For the latest test, another mannequin will be on board. This one is named Ripley, for the heroine in the Alien movies, and it will have all kinds of sensors to see how a real human would experience the trip. “We measure the responses on the human body, obviously, and measure the environment,” Koenigsmann says. “We want to make sure that everything is perfect.”
It’s official, the DCEU is dead, with Warner Bros’ chief Kevin Tsujihara confirming the studio has moved away from the idea of a connected universe for its DC superhero properties – otherwise known as the DC Extended Universe.
“The universe isn’t as connected as we thought it was going to be five years ago,” Tsujihara told The LA Times. “You’re seeing much more focus on individual experiences around individual characters. That’s not to say we won’t at some point come back to that notion of a more connected universe. But it feels like that’s the right strategy for us right now.”
And who’s responsible for the death of the interconnected DCEU? Wonder Woman.
“What Patty Jenkins did on Wonder Woman illustrated to us what you could do with these characters who are not Batman and Superman. Obviously, we want to get those two in the right place, and we want strong movies around Batman and Superman. But Aquaman is a perfect example of what we can do. They’re each unique and the tone’s different in each movie.”
(22) TICKING AWAY. Amazon Prime Video launches The Tick Season 2 on April 5.
Tick and Arthur have freed the City from The Terror — now they must defend it from new villains and old enemies. That is if they can convince AEGIS, the government agency in charge of superhero regulation, that they deserve the job. But now that the City is ‘safe enough to protect’ Tick and Arthur begin to see they’ve got competition…
So far, HBO‘s posters have left basically everything to the imagination, and all we really know is that it’s about to be super cold in Westeros. Like, now would be the time for everyone to break out their Canada Goose jackets. But HBO just dropped all these posters of your faves on the Iron Throne, so we have to wonder if this means the underdogs actually have a shot at winning it all.
(24) THIS IS THE CITY. The second trailer for Pokémon Detective Pikachu dropped a few days ago —
The story begins when ace private eye Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Joey Eschrich, Nancy Collins, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy,
John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these
stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Matthew
(1) PAIN FOR PLEASURE. The sheer, greedy click-seeking that fuels this kerfuffle is being paid for by the pain of the targeted family, as Foz Meadows makes clear in “A Personal Note”.
And it is an insult, regardless of Freer’s claims that he’s only saying what anyone might think. It is also uniquely hurtful – and again, I say this with no expectation that Freer himself cares for my feelings. Manifestly, he does not, and will doubtless rejoice to know that he’s upset me. Nonetheless, I am upset. I’ve tried to pretend that I’m not, but I am, and having admitted as much to myself, I feel no shame in admitting it here. Before all this, I’d never heard of Freer at all, and while I’m aware that the public nature of my life online means that I am, in a sense, accessible to strangers, there’s a great deal of difference between having someone object to my writing, and having them construct malicious falsehoods about my personal life.
In the past few days, at least one person has asked me if I’m really sure that Toby isn’t Camestros; that maybe he’s doing it all behind my back. Freer, Torgersen and Antonelli have laughed at the idea that, if Camestros isn’t Toby, then surely I must be grateful for their alerting me to the presence of a stalker-impersonator – as though they aren’t the ones rifling through my marriage in pursuit of a link that is not, was never, there.
In this exhibit, the Society will feature highlights from his fan-favorite Hellboy series, as well as other spin-off titles including work from B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Witchfinder. The Society is also pleased to feature samples from his award-winning comic books including the Eisner Award winner The Amazing Screw-On Head (Dark Horse Comics) as well as Baltimore, or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire (Bantam Spectra), co-written by best-selling author Christopher Golden. This special exhibit will include an array of comic pages, covers, and rarely seen original paintings by Mignola.
An opening reception for the exhibit will take place on Tuesday, March 6th, beginning at 6:30PM.
In addition, Mike Mignola will be a Guest of Honor at this year’s MoCCA Arts Festival. This 2-day multimedia event, Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, draws over 8,000 attendees each year. Held on April 7 and 8, the Fest will include speaking engagements, book signings, and parties. Further scheduling for Mignola’s appearances including a panel talk and book signings will be available in future announcements.
(3) CONDENSED CREAM OF 2016. If they’re short stories, does that mean they don’t fluff up your Mt. TBR pile quite as much as book recommendations? Greg Hullender notes Rocket Stack Rank is continuing its 2016 catch-up posts:
Here’s our next-to-last article about 2016 short fiction. This one focuses on which publications were most likely to run stories that earned recommendations/awards/spots in year’s-best anthologies.
The two tables of publication coverage are actually a very compact representation of almost all the raw data for this and the final article, which will focus on the sources of recommendations (i.e. awards, reviewers, and year’s-best anthologies).
(4) EXPANDED UNIVERSE: At Featured Futures, Jason recaps the first month of the new year, discussing some new zines and some (old) news in the January Summation.
Covering January short fiction was exciting (and busy), as Featured Futures added Analog, Ares, Asimov’s, Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, F&SF, and Galaxy’s Edge to its roster, resulting in significantly more stories read than usual (86 of 455K words) and a similarly larger than usual recommended/mentioned list. In webzine news, and speaking of Galaxy’s Edge, I was going to add coverage of it as a print zine but, coincidentally, it returned to webzine status, once again making all its fiction available on the web. The categorized “List of Professional SF/F/H Magazines” (which doubles as a list of the markets Featured Futures covers as well as being a sort of index of reviews) has been updated to reflect this.
(5) TOWARDS CANONISATION. The advocates of sainthood for J.R.R. Tolkien are calling for support of preliminary events, as well as the planned Tolkien Canonisaton Conference:
Please pray for the following intentions and dates for the upcoming Tolkien year in the lead up to the Tolkien Canonisation Conference in September 2018 in Oxford:…
Saturday 17th March – St Patrick’s Day Ceilidh Fundraiser 2018: raising funds for the Tolkien Canonisation Conference.
Friday April 13th – (provisional) Lecture on the Theology of the Body and J. R. R. Tolkien in London.
Saturday 1st September – Sunday 2nd September 2018 : Tolkien Canonisation Conference in Oxford.
(6) CHANGE AT TOR BOOKS. Publisher’s Lunch reports —
Liz Gorinsky is leaving her position as a senior editor at Tor Books on February 2. She will continue to handle some of her authors as a consulting editor at Tor and edit short fiction at Tor.com.
Gorinsky tweeted –
Don't worry, though! I still love editing SF&F, and my first two freelance gigs will stay close to home: I'll be working with @catvalente and @analeen on their next novels from @torbooks as a consulting editor, and hunting for great short fiction to publish at @tordotcom. (2/2)
Liz Gorinsky has been my editor for a number of years, & my friend longer than that. I’m very glad we’ll still be working on my next book together, & she’ll be freelancing, but man, it’s hard for me to imagine Tor w/out her. She’s been with them as long as I’ve been in the field
(8) STORY SCRAPING AT LOCUS. Locus Online miraculously noticed the 2018 Darrell Award finalists today, one day after File 770 reported the story. Since Mark Kelly stopped doing the news posting there, Locus Online has become especially active scraping stories from File 770 without acknowledging where they got them. A little “hat tip” would be appropriate and appreciated.
(9) SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL PLANET. It’s time for any book blogger, podcaster, or “booktuber” to nominate for the 2017 Planetary Awards. Click on the link to learn how to participate. The nomination deadline is February 14th, 11:59PM US Pacific time.
The Puppy-influenced Planetary Awards were given for the first time two years ago. The inaugural awards for 2015 work were posted in May 2016 –
Best Novel: Torchship by Karl Gallagher
Best Short Story: “Something in the Water” by C.S. Boyack
The awards for 2016 work were posted in May 2017 –
Best Novel: Swan Knight’s Son by John C. Wright
Best Short Story: “Athan and the Priestess” by Schuyler Hernstrom
The awards are administered by the Planetary Defense Commander, whose identity is findable with a little effort, but there’s no harm in having a handle, right Lou Antonelli? (Wait, maybe I should ask somebody else…)
He was drafted into the Army Air Corps during World War II, but within the world of Walker, even that sometimes turned comically absurd. He spent time at Camp Crowder, which he said inspired “Beetle Bailey’s” Camp Swampy. “I signed up to go into psychiatry,” he told me in 2013 of the Army’s specialized training program, “and I ended up studying engineering. It was typical Army reasoning.”
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
January 29, 1845 — Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven,” is published on this day in the New York Evening Mirror.
January 29, 1964 — Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb premiered.
Worldcon 76 San Jose advises us that they will open nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards and 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards within the next few days. They have been working with Worldcon 75 Helsinki and Worldcon 2018 Dublin to coordinate the combined membership information from all three Worldcons, and to do so within the limitations of the three countries’ data-protection laws. When testing of the online nomination form is complete, Worldcon 76 San Jose will release it on the Worldcon 76 web site and make an announcement. We’ll also announce the start of nominations here on The Hugo Awards web site. Paper ballots will also be distributed with Worldcon 76 Progress Report 2, which we understand is going to press in a few days and should mail to members of Worldcon 76 in February. Besides the online form, a PDF of the paper form will be available from Worldcon 76’s web site when it is ready for release.
The two fan writers I want to promote the most this year are a couple I mentioned last year as well: John Boston and John O’Neill. John Boston’s most publicly available recent stuff is at Galactic Journey, where he reviews issues of Amazing from 55 years ago, month by month. (It will be noted, perhaps, that I also review issues of Amazing from the same period, at Black Gate.) John’s work there is linked by this tag: http://galacticjourney.org/tag/john-boston/.
As for John O’Neill, of course his central contribution is as editor of Black Gate, for which he writes a great deal of the content, often about “vintage” books he’s found on Ebay or at conventions, and also about upcoming fantasy books….
As I did last year, I plan to nominate Black Gate, Galactic Journey, and Rocket Stack Rank for the Best Fanzine Hugo. I’m particularly partial in this context to Black Gate, primarily of course because I have been a contributor since the print days (issue #2 and most of the subsequent issues)….
I heartily agree with Horton’s interest in finding other fan publications than File 770 to put up for the Hugo (though he does have kind words for this site). It seemed a good opportunity to say so here.
(14) REAR VIEW MIRROR. Meanwhile, DB makes a start on the “Retro-Hugos for 1942” with a canvass of his favorite writers.
…Now for Lord Dunsany. In 1942 Dunsany published five stories, all very brief, and about a dozen poems, mostly in Punch. Most of the poems are hopeful gazes towards military victory, and a couple of them introduce the allegorical figure of Liberty, so they could technically be considered fantasy.
None of the stories are SF or fantasy, though the only one of them that’s worth reading could possibly squeeze in by courtesy. It’s a Jorkens story reprinted in The Fourth Book of Jorkens (1947), where it’s the shortest piece in the book. Jorkens is Dunsany’s long-running clubman character who’s prone to making outrageous claims or telling absurd stories which nobody can disprove. In this brief tale, “On the Other Side of the Sun,” that topic comes up – “I wonder what’s there?” – and Jorkens astonishes all by stating, “I have been there.” His regular patsy, Terbut, demands “When, may I ask?” At Jorkens’ reply, “Six months ago,” any red-blooded SF reader should know instantly how the story is going to end, but the penny doesn’t drop for the hapless Terbut until after he makes a large bet that Jorkens is lying…
(15) RETRO FANZINES. While Fanac.org marshals digital copies of 1942 fanzines in support of Worldcon 76’s Retro-Hugos, Robert Lichtman and Bill Burns have tracked down additional fanzines published in 1942 by Bob Tucker available elsewhere online – specifically, at the Internet Archive, which has scans of Tucker’s zine Le Zombie. Four 1942 are issues listed.
The Last Jedi Adds Some More Material (But Not Onscreen)
The Source: An official announcement from Lucasfilm
Probability of Accuracy: It’s totally legit.
The Real Deal: So apparently, there was more to Star Wars: The Last Jedi than appeared onscreen—but fortunately for fans, it’s not going to remain a secret. Writer/director Rian Johnson is working with novelist Jason Fry to create all-new scenes for the book’s forthcoming novelization, as well as rescuing deleted scenes from the cutting room floor, to firmly place them in the canon. Amongst the things audiences didn’t see in theaters but will read about: Han Solo’s funeral. Prepare your tissues for March 6; you’ll get to read all about it then.
She tells the BBC a lot of her stories originate from thought experiments, and her latest novel imagines “a dark possibility for the future” where robots have replaced human’s jobs.
(18) THE MARKETPLACE OF THE INTERNET. Kim Huett sent a link to “Boring Talks #02 – Book Pricing Algorithms” with a comment: “Those of you into buying books online (assuming some of you indeed are) might like to listen to the following cautionary tale brought to us by BBC radio. It will confirm everything you ever suspected about the practise…”
A book for $1.7 million? To a computer, it made sense. Sort of. Tracy King explains.
But what about the poker industry? Surely there must be an AI capable of playing poker at high levels. The answer is yes, there is. This infographic will show you how the poker’s AI developed throughout the history, as well as where it is now. You can find a lot of interesting stats and information in this infographic, but if you are interested in reading more about poker related stuff, visit our website.
Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. The map is not live — rather, it shows a pattern of accumulated activity between 2015 and September 2017.
Most parts of the United States and Europe, where millions of people use some type of fitness tracker, show up on the map as blazes of light because there is so much activity.
In war zones and deserts in countries such as Iraq and Syria, the heat map becomes almost entirely dark — except for scattered pinpricks of activity. Zooming in on those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of known U.S. military bases, as well as of other unknown and potentially sensitive sites — presumably because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.
Not just men, of course, but it made a good headline.
(21) OH NOES! Just think what a career he might have had, if he hadn’t been muted by the Guild!
You should stop silencing by very important voice. I'm the foremost mustachioed SF writer and I'm very good-selling. I'm a millions ranked Amazon author and I'm SFFCguild qualified but the evil founder keeps muting me. #blacklisted
“I’ve done nothing but lie since September,” he said to IndieWire. “I knew, perfectly well, everything before we started. And that meant that every interview was a lie and every conversation I had with my friends… Actually, with quite a lot of my family, was a lie. Anybody on the street was a lie. Anybody in Toronto. So I apologize for all that, but that was the only way to tell the story well.”
In the Mirror Universe of Star Trek, humans aren’t called humans. They’re called “Terrans.” The word “Terran” comes from the root Latin word “terra,” meaning “dry earth,” which is where we get the phrase “terra firma.” But the word “Terran” has been prevalent in science fiction long before it cropped up again on Star Trek: Discovery in 2018. As it turns out “Terran” has a long history of being a dirty word for “human.”
(24) BLACK PANTHER. Marvel Studios’ Black Panther – “Let’s Go” TV spot.
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Kim Huett, Martin Morse Wooster, Standback, Jason, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
For the third straight year, the Short Story Advent Calendar is here to be the spice in your eggnog, the rum in your fruitcake—another collection of 24 brilliant stories to be opened, one by one, on the mornings leading up to Christmas.
These stories once again come from some of the best and brightest writers across North America, and beyond. Plus, this year featuring more all-new material than ever before!
Contributors to the 2017 calendar include:
Kelly Link (Get in Trouble, Magic for Beginners)
Jim Gavin (Middle Men, AMC’s forthcoming Lodge 49)
The 2018 WSFS Constitution (including all of the amendments ratified in Helsinki), Standing Rules for the 2018 WSFS Business Meeting, and Business Passed On to the 2018 WSFS Business Meeting are now online at the “WSFS Rules page”.
The Resolutions & Rulings of Continuing Effect are being reviewed by the WSFS Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee, and I expect them to be online at the same page within a week or so.
Thanks again to Linda Deneroff for pulling this all together and putting up with me futzing around with the documents.
Philip K. Dick has returned to us after a long hiatus with a novel, The Man in the High Castle. It is an ambitious book, longer than most science fiction novels. Castle‘s setting is an alternate history, one in which the Axis powers managed to defeat the Allies…somehow (it is never explained). Dick explores this universe through five disparate viewpoint protagonists, whose paths intertwine in complex, often surprising ways…
Surprisingly, The Traveler scoffs at the alternate history premise.
There are significant problems with Castle, however. For one, it suffers from lazy worldbuilding. The book is an opportunity for Dick to draw a wide cast of characters and depict their complex web of interactions. But the underpinnings of the world they inhabit are implausible. First and foremost, it would have been impossible, logistically, for the United States to have fallen to the Axis Powers. For that matter, I have doubts that the Soviet Union was ever in existential danger. Certainly the Reich never came close to making The Bomb – their racial theory-tinged science wouldn’t have allowed it. It is sobering when you realize that the Allies managed to fight two world wars and develop the most expensive and powerful weapon ever known all at the same time. An Axis victory in World War 2 resulting in the conquest of the United States is simply a nonstarter.
This time around, you get to listen in on my lunch at Mero-Himal Nepalese Restaurant with Karin Tidbeck during the penultimate day of the con. Tidbeck writes fiction in both Swedish and English, and debuted in 2010 with the Swedish short story collection Vem är Arvid Pekon? Her English debut, the 2012 collection Jagannath, was awarded the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts William L. Crawford Fantasy Award in 2013 and was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award. Her novel debut, Amatka, was recently released in English.
We discussed the serious nature of Live Action Role-Playing games in Nordic countries, the way pretending to be a 150-year-old vampire changed her life, how discovering Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics made her forget time and space, the most important lesson she learned from the Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing Workshop, how she uses improvisational exercises to teach beginning writers, why Amatka grew from a poetry collection into a novel, what made her say, “I’m not here to answer questions, I’m here to ask them,” and more.
Cognitive psychologist Dan Johnson and I make a version of it in our paper “The Genre Effect: A Science Fiction (vs. Realism) Manipulation Decreases Inference Effort, Reading Comprehension, and Perceptions of Literary Merit,” forthcoming fromScientific Study of Literature.
Dan and I are both professors at Washington and Lee University, and our collaboration grew out of my annoyance at another study, “Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind,” published in Science in 2013. Boiled down, the authors claimed reading literary fiction makes you smart. And, who knows, maybe it does, but if so, their study gets no closer to understanding why–or even what anyone means by the term “literary fiction” as opposed to, say, “science fiction.”
Our study defines those terms, creates two texts that differ accordingly, and then studies how readers respond to them. The results surprised us. Readers read science fiction badly. If you’d like all the details why, head over to Scientific Study of Literature.
This is an interesting study. It strongly suggests that years of internalized stereotyping might influence the way you read and are *able* to read, in and out of the pulp genres you might favor. I said years ago, in my first published review, “If you don’t read outside the genre… soon you won’t be able to.”
But it might just be that if you listen too long to what arrogant, dismissive people think of your genre, you’ll stop being able to read it intelligently.
(7) VERSE WARRIORS. E. Catherine Tobler (Shimmer editor), Rachael K. Jones (recently nominated for World Fantasy Award for short fiction) and Aidan Doyle have launched a Kickstarter appeal to fund “Sword and Sonnet” an anthology of genre stories about battle poets.
“Sword and Sonnet” will be an anthology featuring genre stories about women and non-binary battle poets. Lyrical, shimmery sonnet-slingers. Grizzled, gritty poetpunks. Word nerds battling eldritch evil. Haiku-wielding heroines.
We have a wonderful group of writers who have agreed to write stories for us: Alex Acks, C. S. E. Cooney, Malon Edwards, Spencer Ellsworth, Samantha Henderson, S. L. Huang, Cassandra Khaw, Margo Lanagan, Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali, Tony Pi, A. Merc Rustad and A. C. Wise. We’ll also be holding an open submission period.
The cover art is by Vlada Monakhova. The project is live on Kickstarter throughout November. At this writing they have raised $1,982 of their $7,654 goal.
(8) IN PASSING. Here’s a photo of the late Ben Solon, a Chicago fan whose death was reported the other day.
Meantime, Bill Burns says he was “Surprised to see that when you posted Kim’s piece on Bill Temple the other day you didn’t also mention Rob Hansen’s excellent new compilation of Bill’s fan writing, Temple at the Bar – free in promotion of TAFF!”
On January 1, 2019, NASA’sNew Horizons spacecraft will fly past a small, distant, and cold world at the outer frontier of our solar system. The spacecraft is about to set the record for visiting the most remote world ever explored by humankind.
For now, our destination goes by the unexciting name “(486958) 2014 MU69“, or “MU69” for short. We would like to use a more memorable nickname when we talk about our target body.
At this site, we are asking you—the public—to suggest your ideas for the nickname to assign to MU69, and to vote for your favorites. The New Horizons team and NASA will review your best ideas and announce our selection soon—in early January, 2018.
… From here you can:
Read about the nicknames we are already considering.
Vote for your favorite names on the ballot (so far).
Nominate names that you think we should add to the ballot.
Would you believe — right now, Mjölnir is leading the poll.
(12) TRAD PIZZA. In “Papa John’s condemns new customers: White supremacists” the alt-right rationale that a business is “failing” – because it didn’t grow as fast as predicted (mind you, it still grew) – sounds like the same criticism recently levied against a sff writer who said his productivity was down.
Papa John’s pizza has a new customer, the alt-right.
In the days following a rant by Papa John’s CEO and Louisville resident John Schnatter where he blamed the NFL and anthem protests for low sales, a white-supremacist publication claimed it as their official pizza.
In a blog post at the Daily Stormer, a photo of pizza with pepperonis arranged in a swastika has a caption that reads “Papa John: Official pizza of the alt-right?”
“This might be the first time ever in modern history that a major institution is going to be completely destroyed explicitly because of public outrage over their anti-White agenda,” Daily Stormer writer Adrian Sol said.
Peter Collins, the senior director of public relations at Papa John’s, said the company was taken off-guard by the endorsement.
“We condemn racism in all forms and any and all hate groups that support it,” Collins told Courier Journal. “We do not want these individuals or groups to buy our pizza.”
Papa John’s released third-quarter sales figures last week that show diminished rates of growth at established North American locations: 1.5 percent this year as opposed to a projected 2- to 4-percent increase. In 2016, North American sales increased 5.5 percent during the same period.
(13) TWO-LEGGED SYLLOGISM OF THE DAY. In a piece mainly devoted to slandering David Gerrold, Dr. Mauser informs the sff community “The Science Fiction is Settled”, indulging in the fallacious logic that if any member of a group wrote sff in the early days of the genre, by that date the field was wide open to writers from that group.
And then, tragedy strikes. Because to Gerrold, Change has an Arrow on it, with a single destination, and it’s pointing to the left. He launches into a paean about Immigrants and diversity and the global village because Diversity is Strength! And then:
So, yes, it is inevitable that science fiction authors will explore that diversity — expanded roles for women, new definitions of gender and sexuality, the contributions of People of Color and other non-white ethnicities. We’ve discovered the overlooked skills of the aged and the disabled, the unusual and extraordinary ratiocinations of people who are neuro-atypical. The next generation of authors are exploring vast new landscapes of possibility — places to explore and discover ways of being human previously unconsidered.
It’s not that SF CAN explore those things, but that SF SHOULD explore those things he seems to think. Forget exploring the stars or asking “What if we’re not alone in the universe?” Nah, we’re alone, so let’s spend all our speculative energies on exploring our own bad selves. He grudgingly admits that while we have probes going past Pluto, “some of our most ambitious authors are turning their attention to a different frontier —exploring the workings of the human soul.” I suppose our navels give us much more instantaneous gratification than the stars. But really, that kind of narcissism is only interesting to the narcissist.
And at this point, we can see where the train leaves the tracks, because he switches from talking about science fiction, to the science fiction community, while trying to carry the same points. He talks about the changes in the SF Community from all these new folks of diverse backgrounds showing up. The only problem with this theory is that they have always been here. There’s a case of DoubleThink going on here when the same folks who like to claim Mary Shelley as one of the first female authors of Science Fiction, and then set it out there as if women are something new, and even more patronizing when they act as if their side’s genuflecting to Feminism is somehow responsible for their appearance. No, this is not a change. Try reading some C.L. Moore and realize that not only have women been in SF all along, they have been awesome.
Likewise with minority writers. The publishing world is, or at least was, the ultimate meritocracy. Since most of the business was conducted by mail, a publisher had no clue about the racial background of an author. Bias was eliminated through the medium of the Manila envelope. It takes very little research to find out that Black authors have been writing science fiction since the turn of the century. No, not this century, the previous one. Likewise for Gay authors, an obvious example being from the previous list, Samuel R. Delany. He was first published in 1962. That’s FIFTY FIVE years ago. This “change” Gerrold is touting really is nothing new.
Do you think there’s much chance that David Gerrold will be stunned to learn a gay author wrote sf in the Sixties?
(14) TURNOVER AT CASTALIA HOUSE BLOG. Jeffro Johnson is leaving the Castalia House blog. Contributor Morgan Holmes will take charge. Culture warrior Johnson said in his farewell post —
I remember when Sad Puppies first came to my attention. Upon reading the most vilified author of the whole crop– Vox Day, of course– I saw a nominated story that’s worst fault could only be that it was explicitly Christian. Looking up the publishing house it was produced at, I found a manifesto stating their goal to restore fantasy and science fiction to more what it was like when it was written by Tolkien and Howard. (And yeah, I had no idea how the person that wrote that could possibly think that a pulp writer like Robert E. Howard could be anywhere on par with J. R. R. Tolkien. And even more ironically, I couldn’t imagine how a “Campbellian Revolution” they claimed to want could be anything other than good.)
…So much is happening in the wider scene today that I can barely keep up with even a portion of it. Along with that, I find that areas of my life outside of gaming and fiction have increasingly laid greater and greater claims to my time. And while I wish I could do all the things that I can think of that could really capitalize on everything that’s developed here… I’m afraid I instead have to admit that I’ve run with all of this about as far as I can.
It’s a tough thing to do, but I think it’s the right thing for me at this time. So I’m handing over editorship of Castalia House blog to Morgan Holmes, who has been writing about classic fantasy and science fiction here almost as long as I have. (Good luck, man!)
(15) ONE THING PEOPLE SEEM TO AGREE ABOUT. On National Review Online, Heather Wilhelm, in “The Surprising Joy of Stranger Things”. praises the show for being “a good, non-angry, non-political TV show.”
The show features “a prelapsarian world of walkie-talkies, landlines, and suburban kids left free to roam wherever they want on their bicycles,” wrote Emily Nussbaum in The New Yorker last year. Or, as Ross Duffer told Rolling Stone: “We were the last generation to have the experience of going out with our friends to the woods or the train tracks and the only way our parents could connect with us was to say, ‘It’s time for dinner.’” That world is largely gone, and with it, many childhood adventures. The image of a freewheeling kid on a bicycle, so integral to iconic films such as E.T. — Matt and Ross Duffer make no secret of drawing inspiration from classic ’80s blockbusters — is also integral to Stranger Things. Tooling around town or in the local woods on a bike is almost diametrically opposed to most widely approved childhood activities today, which tend to involve hyper-organized and ludicrously time-consuming team sports that seem purposely designed to torture kids and parents alike. Tooling around town or in the local woods on a bike is almost diametrically opposed to most widely approved childhood activities today. But given free rein on their bikes in and around the town of Hawkins, the kids of Stranger Things can meet up, explore, barrel through the forest, investigate baffling occurrences, and evade a posse of bad guys from a sinister government agency gone awry. That would be the Hawkins National Laboratory, a hulking structure nestled deep in the midwestern woods, packed to the gills with mysteries. According to the Duffer brothers, it was inspired mostly by “bizarre experiments we had read about taking place in the Cold War.”
(16) HERDING CATS. Camestros Felapton expanded his survey of animals in sff blogs (“Blogstrology”) to include one more —
Rocket Stack Rank www.rocketstackrank.com is interesting because the animals mentioned would be more determined by their incidence in short fiction. Overall low frequencies and RSR has no presence on the otter or goose dimensions. Wolf-Rabbit-Cat blog – “Cat” strongly assisted by reviews of the works of Cat Rambo.
(18) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Time Travel in Fiction Rundown” on YouTube is a look at how lots of movies and Ender’s Game and Harry Potter and the Prisomer of Azkaban handle the time travel theme.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, James Davis Nicoll, Bill Burns, Kim Huett, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Scott Edelman for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Xtifr.]
For the first time in history of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) the convention will take place in Dublin, Ireland.
Today, Dublin was confirmed as the 2019 location by site selection voters at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. Worldcon 75 reports 1,227 votes were received.
Dublin 2019 will take place at the Convention Centre Dublin from August 15-19, 2019. The Guests of Honour range from writers to scientists and beyond – Bill and Mary Burns, Diane Duane, Ginjer Buchanan, Ian McDonald, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and Steve Jackson.
Dublin 2019 chair James Bacon said:
The whole team are delighted to be bringing the Worldcon to Ireland for the first time. It’s a huge achievement and we are very proud to be able to welcome thousands of fans to this beautiful country that is steeped in storytelling. We have fantastic guests and we will building an exciting programme covering all aspects of science fiction, fantasy and horror in all media, including prose, comics, art, film, cosplay, science, TV to name a few in what will be a fabulous celebration here in Dublin.
The Worldcon is held in a different city every year and usually has around 5,000 attendees from around the globe. Some of the highlights of the five day event include the Hugo Awards, the Masquerade and programming that runs all five days with over a thousand items including panels, talks, workshops, films, autograph sessions and more.
About the guests:
Bill and Mary Burns (New York): Avid readers who have attended Worldcon since 1967. Bill was the recipient of the Doc Weir Award in 2003 and both were Fan Guests of Honour at Eastercon LX.
Diane Duane (Wicklow): Diane’s first novel was published in 1979 and have sold more than fifty other novels during her career. She has won numerous awards and has also written extensively for tv and film.
Ginjer Buchanan (New York): Ginjer has over fifty years in fandom and over 30 years as professional editor. She has been nominated for the Best Editor- Long Form Hugo six times and won in 2014.
Ian McDonald (Belfast): Is a writer who has over written over 20 novels and numerous short stories. In addition he has also worked in programme development in Ireland. He has won awards for his short fiction as well as novels.
Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Lurgan Co Armagh): Jocelyn is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who as a postgraduate student discovered the first radio pulsars.
Steve Jackson (Texas): Steve is a game designer by trade who owns Steve Jackson Games. He has received 12 Origin Awards as well as various other honours for game design.
“World Science Fiction Society,” “WSFS,” “World Science Fiction Convention,” “Worldcon,” “NASFiC,” “Hugo Award,” and the distinctive design of the Hugo Award Rocket are service marks of the World Science Fiction Society, an unincorporated literary society.
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented at Corflu since 2010, to honor a living fan for their fan activity over a long career in fandom. It is not a FAAn award; in most years winners have been selected from nominations by a small committee, usually (as this year) including recent Corflu chairs and the FAAn Awards administrator. Previous winners are listed alongside the FAAn awards on the awards history page [link: http://corflu.org/history/faan.html ]
Claire Brialey, the award administrator, encourages fans to get involved:
Anyone interested in science fiction fanzines is eligible to vote on the FAAn awards; please do take part if you’d like to recognize and celebrate what you’ve enjoyed about fanzines in the past year. The awards are voted on by fanzine fans around the world and the results are now usually announced at Corflu – but you don’t need to be a member of this year’s, or any other, Corflu in order to vote.
The FAAn Award categories are Genzine, Personalzine, Special Publication, Fan Website, Fan Writer, Fan Artist, Letterhack, and Fanzine Cover.
More information about this and previous year’s awards, together with a downloadable ballot form with voting instructions, can be found on the Corflu 33 website.
(1) PRELIMINARY PUPPIES. Vox Day issued his first “preliminary recommendations” today: “Rabid Puppies 2016: Best New Writer” (Preliminary, since he may change them based on feedback about eligibility, or for other reasons.)
To kick things off, we’ll begin with the Campbell Award: Best New Writer category:
Cheah Kai Wai
Sebastien de Castell
There was a noteworthy exchange in the comments.
[Phil Sandifer] Just for the record, Vox, the only reason Andy Weir wasn’t on the ballot last year was the Puppies. Without you, the Campbell nominees last year would have been Chu, Weir, Alyssa Wong, Carmen Maria Marchado, and Django Wexler.
[VD] Oh, Phil, you’re always so careless. That is not the only reason. It is a reason. Had you SJWs favored Weir over Chu, he would have also been on the ballot.
In any event, since you all are such champions of Weir, I’m glad we will all be able to join forces and get him nominated.
(2) GRRM REQUESTS. After announcing that the Locus Recommended Reading List is online, George R.R. Martin explicitly said –
Just for the record, before the issue is raised, let me state loudly and definitively that I do not want any of my work to be part of anyone’s slate, this year or any year. But I do feel, as I have said before, that a recommended reading list and a slate are two entirely different animals.
— an announcement whose timing may be more relevant today than it would have been yesterday.
(3) LOCUS SURVEY. You can now take the Locus Poll and Survey at Locus Online. Anyone can vote; Locus subscriber votes count double. Voting closes April 15.
Here is the online version of the 46th annual Locus Awards ballot, covering works that appeared in 2015.
In each category, you may vote for up to five works or nominees, ranking them 1 (first place) through 5 (fifth).
As always, we have seeded the ballot with options based on our 2015 Recommended Reading List [this link will open a new window], mainly because this greatly facilitates tallying of results. However, again as always, you are welcome to use the write-in boxes to vote for other titles and nominees in any category. If you do, please try to supply author, title, and place of publication, in a format like the options listed, where appropriate.
Do not vote for more than one item in a category at the same rank (e.g. two selections ranked 1st); if you do, we will disregard your votes in that category.
File 770 is seeded in the Best Magazine or Fanzine category and would cherish your fifth place votes. Or twenty-fifth, for that matter – the competition is formidable.
What does this tell us? That Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk has emerged as a major Nebula contender, despite being lightly read (as of January 30th, this only has 93 ratings on Goodreads, 31 on Amazon, much much lower than other Nebula/Hugo contenders). That’s due in part to Schoen’s late publication date: the novel came out on December 29, 2015. That’s a tough time to come out, as you get lost in the post-Christmas malaise. A Nebula nomination would drive a lot of attention to this book. Schoen now seems like a very good bet for the Nebula, particularly when we factor in that he received Nebula nominations in the Best Novella category in 2013, 2014, and 2015. There’s clearly a subset of Nebula voters that really like Schoen’s work; a Best Novel nomination might be a spark that gets him more read by the rest of us.
I’ve lost track of how many submissions I made to Analog during the intervening years, first to Ben Bova, then Stan Schmidt (for more than three decades!), and now Trevor Quachri. Were there 25 short stories? Fifty? It’s probably been more than that, but I don’t know for sure. And it doesn’t really matter.
What matters is—in the face of rejection, I kept writing.
What matters is—in the face of rejection, I kept submitting.
What matters is—I never took it personally. I knew that I wasn’t the one being rejected—it was only the words on the page that weren’t the right match.
Will Eisner wasn’t just the godfather of comics, a creative force who changed the face of modern comics — he was also a staunch advocate for the freedom of expression. In celebration of Eisner’s indomitable talent and advocacy, CBLDF is delighted to offer up for auction books from Eisner’s own personal collection!
All books in this collection come from the late, great Will Eisner’s personal library. The books from this collection are bookplated with Eisner’s own personalized bookplate, featuring his most famous creation, The Spirit. Most of the books in this collection are signed and personalized to the master himself by creators whom Eisner inspired over his illustrious 70-year career
(8) FAN ART AT RSR. I see that with help from eFanzines’ Bill Burns, Rocket Stack Rank terrifically upgraded its “2016 Fan Artists” content. Gregory N. Hullender explains.
With the help of Bill Burns, we’ve updated the Best Fan Artist page at RSR to include cover art from eFanzines (plus a few that Bill scanned by hand). This doubled the number of artists and tripled the number of images, making it comparable to the Pro Artist page.
(9) INCONCEIVABLE. Japan’s huge convention Comic Market, aka Comiket, which draws half a million fans (in aggregate over three days) expects to be bumped from its facilities in 2020. What could bump an event that big? The Olympics. Anime News Network reports —
Tokyo Big Sight, the convention center where Comiket is usually held, announced earlier that it would not be able to hold the convention between April 2019 and October 2020. Event spaces have been closing throughout the Tokyo area for the past decade. Tokyo Big Sight has also announced that industry booths at this summer’s Comiket would close after two days (instead of the usual three) to accommodate construction work to expand the building for the upcoming Olympics.
(10) TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF THE CANON. We might call this a contrarian view.
Given all the weird shit she's done since HP7, I do not accept that JKR is qualified to determine canon anymore. https://t.co/f8qDZODEe3
Collum said the model had long hung in the gift shop of the Air and Space Museum on the Mall. Now it is headed for the renovated Milestones of Flight Hall there.
“The historical relevance of the TV show, and this model, has grown,” he said. “So it’s now being brought up into the limelight, and it’s going to be in the same gallery as the ‘Spirit of St. Louis’ [and] the Apollo 11 command module.”
I see a lot of discussion about whether games are art. For me, there’s no point in discussing the matter, because this isn’t the first time I’ve had such a powerful emotional experience while gaming. That’s why I’m still a gamer, and will probably keep playing ’til I die. This is what art does: it moves you. Maybe it makes you angry, okay. Maybe it makes you laugh. Not all of it is good, but so what? There’s a lot of incredibly shitty art everywhere in the world. But the good art? That’s the stuff that has power, because you give it power. The stuff that lingers with you, days or years later, and changes you in small unexpected ways. The stuff that keeps you thinking. Right now I’m trying to figure out how to recreate that game experience with my fiction.
There were more than 70 college SF clubs in China in year 2015. Compared to 120 clubs in 2012, the number was reduced. However, two independent fandoms, Future Affairs Administration in Beijing and SF AppleCore in Shanghai, were still very active.
SF AppleCore is the most important fandom in Eastern China. Last year, in addition to orchestrating the annual Shanghai Science Fiction and Fantasy Festival, SF AppleCore continued to operate on a regular base to bring about the public SF events such as AppleCore Party (speeches and gatherings of fans) and AppleCore Reading Group.
Future Affairs Administration was the backbone behind the 2016 Worldcon bid for Beijing. Although the bid was not successful, they organized the Chinese Nebula Award ceremony in 2014. Last year, this fandom was consolidated into a media platform for SF and technology related information, although the function for fan events still remained.
(16) WORLDS OF LE GUIN. The Kickstarter fundraising appeal for Arwen Curry’s documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin has begun. So far, 514 backers have pledged $39,699 of the $80,000 goal. The SFWA Blog endorsed it today:
Viewers will accompany Le Guin on an intimate journey of self-discovery as she comes into her own as a major feminist author, inspiring generations of women and other marginalized writers along the way. To tell this story, the film reaches into the past as well as the future – to a childhood steeped in the myths and stories of disappeared Native peoples she heard as the daughter of prominent 19th century anthropologist Alfred Kroeber.
Le Guin’s story allows audiences to reflect on science fiction’s unique role in American culture, as a conduit for our utopian dreams, apocalyptic fears, and tempestuous romance with technology. Le Guin, by elevating science fiction from mind candy to serious speculation, has given permission to younger mainstream writers like Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, and Jonathan Lethem to explore fantastic elements in their work.
The blooper reels for the Star Wars prequel films have been available for a while, but there’s a noticeable trend with all of them. Nearly every blooper — genuinely funny or otherwise — is filmed within a green screen backdrop.
[Thanks to Janice Gelb, JJ, Petrea Mitchell, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Gregory N. Hullender.]
Willis Conover at a 1970s Lunacon. Photo by and (c) Andrew Porter.
Willis Conover, who died in 1996, could pack concert halls for jazz shows behind the Iron Curtain. But he wasn’t a household name in his own country because by law, the Voice of America cannot broadcast to the United States. This week, Doug Ramsey, who writes about jazz for The Wall Street Journal, reported that a campaign to persuade the Postal Services Stamp Advisory Committee to put Willis Conover on a U.S. postage stamp now has thousands of signatures. It would send the face of the voice who brought the light of hot jazz into the darkest places of the Cold War around the world again.
Andrew Porter explains the fannish connection:
Before Willis Conover was the voice of American jazz to the world behind the Iron Curtain, he was a science fiction fan and reader. Although he left the field for wider seas, he came back to SF in the 1970s, reviving his earlier fanzine Science-Fantasy Correspondent in 1975, and resumed attending science fiction conventions. He should be honored for his work with the VoA. Like Rog Ebert, who honed his writing skills in the fanzines he wrote for before he started college and eventually became a film reviewer, Conover’s heart belonged to science fiction and fantasy first.
And Bill Burns said,
When I worked at BBC Overseas Services (1968-71) we relayed the VoA signal, picked up on shortwave at Caversham, sent by landline to Bush House in London, then to the BBC’s shortwave transmitters. Music programmes such as Jazz Hour didn’t really sound very good after this treatment, so the VoA would ship us tapes of each show which we would insert into the outgoing stream instead of the received signal. I didn’t know it when I was at the BBC, but I saw Conover a few years later at a Philcon and discovered that he had published a fanzine in the 1930s and was a correspondent of HP Lovecraft.
Jim Freund, whose program “Hour of the Wolf” is heard on WBAI-FM, met some of these folks through Conover.
I worked with Mr. Conover quite a few times in the early 70s. I was introduced to him by Hans Stefan Santesson, who was a frequent guest on ‘Hour of the Wolf.’ Mr. Conover would give me a call at the station and ask if I’d be free and could book a studio for a given time, and would then show up with surviving members of the Lovecraft Circle. I clearly recall his bringing along Manly Wade Wellman, and most dramatically, Sonia Greene, who was married to Lovecraft (if not living with him most of their years.) This was not long before her death in 1971.
In my wisdom, I tried to make Mr. Conover take the lead in these interviews — he was a true radio professional with a fabulous voice, and knew far more about American and early horror than I ever could. I got the impression he didn’t want to make too much of a public thing of his name on WBAI — I think the political views of the VoA and Pacifica Radio were not very compatible. So I took the lead, but usually with a briefing by him and/or Hans beforehand.
He gave me a recorded reading he’d made of ‘The Willows’ by Algernon Blackwood, recorded for an airline for passengers to listen to in-flight. We were never sure of the rights to broadcast this, but we did so anyhow. (Safe in those days — especially at 5:00 AM.)
If you ever plan to approach Mark Hamill for an autograph, make sure you have a Star Wars baseball card handy. As it turns out, the man otherwise known as Luke Skywalker has made an artform out of prefacing his John Hancock with hilarious captions on vintage collectible cards.
(3) Patrick May has done another set of calculations in “E Pluribus Hugo vs Slates” using historic vote data from the 1984 Hugos to show the impact of the proposed rules change.
E Pluribus Hugo vs Slates
With the EPH algorithm, the results in the Novel category in 1984 would have been:
Startide Rising: 105 ¼ points, 136 ballots
The Robots of Dawn: 52 ¾ points, 75 ballots
Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern: 41 ¾ points, 54 ballots
Tea with the Black Dragon: 40 1/6 points, 55 ballots
Millennium: 33 5/6 points, 52 ballots
This is the same result as under the existing rules.
With 43 slate ballots (10% of the number cast) added, the result would have been identical to the actual 1984 result.
With 85 slate ballots (20% of the number cast) added, one slate work would make the list, bumping off “Millennium”. This is quite different from the current rules where only “Startide Rising” would remain out of non-slate works.
With 128 slate ballots (30% of the number cast) added, two slate works would make the list, bumping off “Millennium” and “Tea with the Black Dragon”. Again this is quite different from the current rules where the only non-slate work remaining would be “Startide Rising”.
Even with 170 slate ballots (40% of the number cast) added, both “Startide Rising” and “The Robots of Dawn” would remain on the nomination list under the EPH rules. Under the current rules, slate works would sweep the category.
The singularity is a hypothesized time in the future, approximately 2045, when the capabilities of non-living electronic machines will supersede human capabilities. Undismissable contemporary thinkers like Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Ray Kurzweil warn us that it will change everything. Hawking likens it to receiving a message from aliens announcing their arrival in “a few decades,” saying this is “more or less” what’s happening with artificial intelligence software….
How “alive” would a superintelligence be?
Mike McHargue, host of the Ask Science Mike podcast: We think nothing of wiping out bacteria by the millions when we wash our hands, and most people don’t hesitate to slap the fly buzzing around their heads. But dogs? Dolphins? Apes? We see some reflection of awareness in their eyes, and mark them as greater peers among life. What’s fascinating about machine intelligence is we are presented with some level of consciousness that is not associated with biological life. We’ve already built robots with similar intelligence and conscious awareness as an earthworm, and we’ve modeled neural network as complex as insects and possibly reptiles.
As computer technology advances, there’s a real possibility of something that is highly intelligent but not “alive” in any traditional sense.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter, Mark, Patrick May and John King Tarpinian for some of the stories. Title credit to File 770 contributing editor of the day Will R .]
All the posts from Bruce Sterling’s Dead Media project of 20 years ago have been collected and released as a free 921-page ebook.
Back in 1995 Sterling offered a “crisp fifty-dollar bill” to the first person to write and publish a project he and Richard Kadrey had dreamed up — a handbook “about media that have died on the barbed wire of technological advance, media that didn’t make it, martyred media, dead media…”
Such as: the phenakistoscope. The teleharmonium. The Edison wax cylinder. The stereopticon. The Panorama. Early 20th century electric searchlight spectacles. Morton Heilig’s early virtual reality. Telefon Hirmondo. The various species of magic lantern. The pneumatic transfer tubes that once riddled the underground of Chicago. Was the Antikythera Device a medium? How about the Big Character Poster Democracy Wall in Peking in the early 80s?
But somebody else would have to do it, explained Sterling, because “[we], after all, are just science fiction writers who spend most of our time watching Chinese videos, reading fanzines and making up weird crap.”
When nobody stepped forward (big surprise) Sterling appealed for help collecting stories and notes about dead media. These were hosted at Deadmedia.org and eFanzines’ Bill Burns was one of the participants. Burns described an example of dead media in USA Today’s 1997 story about the website:
The notes illustrate something often lost in today’s relentless barrage of technological hype: Innovations that were once the latest and greatest can vanish without a trace.
Who remembers the Regina players that once filled homes, bars and hotels with music? A cross between a record player and a music box, they were 20-inch metal disks that interacted with tiny sprockets that in turn twanged small tone bars. The players required no electricity, merely a good strong arm to crank them up.
“They lasted from the 1890s to about 1912,” says Bill Burns, an engineer on Long Island who collects them. “All the popular tunes of the day came out on these stamped steel or zinc disks. It was an entire industry.” Gone without a ripple, in the wake of the phonograph.