Green, Misha – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 1: “Sundown” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
Green, Misha and Ofordire, Ihuoma – Lovecraft Country, Season 1, Episode 8: “Jig-a-Bobo” (Affeme, Monkeypaw Productions, Bad Robot Productions, Warner Bros. Television Studios)
James, Natalie Erika and White, Christian – Relic (AGBO, Film Constellation, IFC Midnight)
LaManna, Angela – The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Episode 5: “The Altar of the Dead” (Intrepid Pictures, Amblin Television, Paramount Television Studios)
Weekes, Remi – His House (Regency Enterprises, BBC Films, Vertigo Entertainment, Starchild Pictures)
Whannell, Leigh – The Invisible Man (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Goalpost Pictures, Nervous Tick Productions)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Borski, Robert – Carpe Noctem (Weird House Press)
Brandeis, Gayle – Many Restless Concerns (Black Lawrence Press)
Clarke, Cassandra Rose – Sacred Summer (Aqueduct Press)
Crum, Amanda – The Day You Learned To Swim (Self-Published)
Manzetti, Alessandro – Whitechapel Rhapsody: Dark Poems (Independent Legions Publishing)
McHugh, Jessica – A Complex Accident of Life (Apokrupha)
Murray, Ronald J. – Cries to Kill the Corpse Flower (Bizarro Pulp Press)
Pelayo, Cynthia – Into the Forest and All the Way Through (Burial Day Books)
Sng, Christina – A Collection of Dreamscapes (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Tantlinger, Sara – Cradleland of Parasites (Rooster Republic Press)
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Bailey, Michael and Murano, Doug – Miscreations: Gods, Monstrosities & Other Horrors (Written Backwards)
Cagle, Ryan and Jenkins, James D. – The Valancourt Book of World Horror Stories, Volume 1 (Valancourt Books)
Flynn, Geneve and Murray, Lee – Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Givens Kurtz, Nicole – Slay: Stories of the Vampire (Mocha Memoirs Press)
Kelly, Michael – Shadows & Tall Trees 8 (Undertow Publications)
Kolesnik, Samantha – Worst Laid Plans: An Anthology of Vacation Horror (Grindhouse Press)
Neal, David T. and Scott, Christine M. – The Fiends in the Furrows II: More Tales of Folk Horror (Nosetouch Press)
Rector, Jeani and Wild, Dean H. – The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories (HellBound Books Publishing, LLC)
Tantlinger, Sara – Not All Monsters: A Strangehouse Anthology by Women of Horror (Rooster Republic Press)
Yardley, Mercedes M. – Arterial Bloom (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Florence, Kelly and Hafdahl, Meg – The Science of Women in Horror: The Special Effects, Stunts, and True Stories Behind Your Favorite Fright Films (Skyhorse)
Glasby, Matt – The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film (White Lion Publishing)
Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – 1000 Women in Horror (BearManor Media)
Keene, Brian – End of the Road (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Kerestman, Katherine – Creepy Cat’s Macabre Travels: Prowling Around Haunted Towers, Crumbling Castles, and Ghoulish Graveyards (WordCrafts Press)
Peirse, Alison – Women Make Horror: Filmmaking, Feminism, Genre (Rutgers University Press)
Stallings, Courtenay – Laura’s Ghost: Women Speak About Twin Peaks (Fayetteville Mafia Press)
Waggoner, Tim – Writing in the Dark (Guide Dog Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – The Monster Theory Reader (University of Minnesota Press)
Wetmore, Jr. Kevin J. – The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaption (McFarland)
Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction
Clasen, Mathias – “Why the World Is a Better Place with Stephen King in It: An Evolutionary Perspective” (Evolutionary Perspectives on Imaginative Culture) (Springer)
Clasen, Mathias; Johnson, John; Kjeldgaard-Christiansen, Jens; and Scrivner, Coltan – “Pandemic Practice: Horror Fans and Morbidly Curious Individuals Are More Psychologically Resilient during the Covid-19 Pandemic” (Personality and Individual Differences) (Elsevier)
Jackson Joseph, Rhonda – “The Beloved Haunting of Hill House: An Examination of Monstrous Motherhood” (The Streaming of Hill House: Essays on the Haunting Netflix Adaptation) (McFarland)
Pelayo, Cynthia – “I Need to Believe” (Southwest Review Volume 105.3)
Renner, Karen J. – “Degeneration through Violence: Stephen King’s Rage” (Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King) (Lexington Books)
Robinson, Kelly – “Hell is Other Mushroom People: Societal Decay in Matango” (Scary Monsters Magazine #117)
Robinson, Kelly – “Lost, Found, and Finally Unbound: The Strange History of the 1910 Edison Frankenstein” (Rue Morgue Magazine, June 2020)
Sng, Christina – “Final Girl: A Life in Horror” (Interstellar Flight Magazine, October 2020)
Waggoner, Tim – “Speaking of Horror” (The Writer)
Weinstock, Jeffrey Andrew – “What is IT? Ambient Dead and Modern Paranoia in It (2017), It Follows (2014), and It Comes at Night (2017)” (Horror Studies v.11, no.2)
(1) IMAGINARY PAPERS. The second issue of Imaginary Papers, a quarterly newsletter on science fiction worldbuilding, futures thinking, and imagination from the Center for Science and the Imagination, features writing from SF author Indrapramit Das and ecologist Jessie Rack. Here is a direct link. Also, you can also use this link to subscribe for future issues.
(2) MORE BRAM STOKER PLANS. The Horror Writers Association will stream the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony on HWA’s YouTube channel on April 18. Prior to the Awards, see some of the nominees read from their works.
Here’s the schedule so far (times are PST): BLOCK 1 (5 p.m.): Gemma Amor (First Novel) reading from Dear Laura Eric J. Guignard (First Novel) reading from Doorways to the Deadeye
BLOCK 2 (5:15 p.m.): Peter Adam Salomon (Young Adult Novel) reading from Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds Kate Jonez (Fiction Collection) reading from Lady Bits
BLOCK 3 (5:30 p.m.): Greg Chapman (Short Fiction) reading from “The Book of Last Words” Gwendolyn Kiste (Short Fiction) reading from “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” John Kachuba (Nonfiction) reading from Shapeshifters: A History
BLOCK 4 (5:45 p.m.): Eric J. Guignard (Anthology) reading from Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror Colleen Doran (Graphic Novel) reading from Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples
(3) DATLOW ON YOUTUBE. Dacre Stoker interviews Ellen Datlow, Editor of Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories, which made it on to the HWA Final Ballot for the 2020 Stoker Awards. Video hosted on the Horror Writers Association YouTube channel.
Other Stoker finalists interviewed on the HWA YouTube channel include Including Kaaron Warren, Greg Chapman, Caitlin Starling, John Langan, Kelly Robinson, and Tim Waggoner.
The website for StokerCon™ 2021 Denver is up and running! Click here to check it out.
(4) BUHLERT IN THE PAPER. Cora Buhlert says, “The local paper [Weser Kurier] did a profile about me, because I’m a Hugo finalist and those are thin on the ground in Germany, let alone in my area (Simone Heller and Marko Kloos are both from other parts of Germany).” It’s in German — “Wie eine Seckenhauserin den wichtigsten Science-Fiction-Preis abräumen könnte”. Here’s an excerpt rendered in English by Google Translate:
…She is also one of the authors of the international blog Galactic Journey, which has also been nominated for the Hugo Award this year.
The clocks tick a little differently on the platform, strictly speaking 55 years before our time. Galactic Journey picks up on the events of the time – also with reference to the home of the authors. Cora Buhlert mentions, for example, that Werder Bremen just became German soccer champion in 1965. Science fiction does not always have to be geared towards the future: “Time travel has always been part of it,” says Buhlert.
Cora adds, “The other local paper (I live in the overlap area of the coverage of two newspapers) is also going to do an interview.”
This elicited a comment from Rick Hellewell (a name I recognize from Jerry Pournelle’s blog) about a very interesting tool he’s put online, which is free to use. He explained:
If you want to look at the sales ranking, and see the ranking of all the Zon categories (you can have up to 10), try out my BKLNK site. This link https://www.bklnk.com/categories5.php will allow you get the info by using the ASIN or ISBN-10 numbers.
I built the BKLNK site for UBLs that can have Affiliate links for the proper Zon store automatically, then added the CATFIND (category finder) to see all the categories assigned to my books. Although the Zon allows you to have up to 10 categories (by special requires), you can’t see all 10 categories on the book’s product page. The CATFIND tool lets you see all categories (and sales rank) assigned to a book.
I’m in the middle of adding a new feature (called ‘Catalize’) that will grab the categories used by the top 25 books in a genre. I see that as a great marketing tool for indie publishers, as the authors can see the best categories they might use for their books. (You can look at any book with each tool.) The new ‘Catalize’ tool will be available by the end of the week.
Anyway, the entire site is free to use, and might be helpful to other authors. I built it for my own needs, but it has become useful for others.
Just as a test I plugged in the ID number for a Terry Pratchett novel – and that search returned all kinds of interesting information.
After initially postponing BookExpo and BookCon 2020 from their original May 27–31 dates to July 22-26, Reedpop has canceled both events. The cancellation is the latest in a string of them affecting the biggest conferences and fairs in the book business worldwide, including the London Book Fair, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair (which is planning a virtual fair beginning May 4), and the ALA annual meeting and conference.
(7) AUSTRALIAN SFF AND FANHISTORY. Past Aussie Worldcon chairs David Grigg and Perry Middlemiss have been doing the Two Chairs Talking podcast for almost a year now. In Episode 24, Perry and David, and special guests W. H. Chong and Paul Carr, talk about what it was that drew them into reading science fiction and fantasy in the first place: “Kings of Infinite Space”.
Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson builds intricate future societies in many of his books, exploring how we might emerge from the depravities of our current era to create a better future for our species. But in his upcoming novel, The Ministry for the Future, Robinson isn’t visiting a half-sunk New York City a hundred years from now (New York 2140), tracking Martian terraforming over a century (the Mars trilogy) or following artists as they build sculptures on 24th century Mercury (2312). Instead, The Ministry for the Future follows more immediate possible futures, as humanity is confronted with a global warming mass extinction event.
“In The Ministry for the Future I tried to describe the next thirty years going as well as I could believe it might happen, given where we are now,” Robinson told Newsweek. “That made it one of the blackest utopias ever written, I suppose, because it seems inevitable that we are in for an era of comprehensive and chaotic change.”
(9) PIP BAKER OBIT. Doctor Who writer Pip Baker (1928-2020) has died at the age of 91. Doctor Who News paid tribute:
Pip Baker, along with his wife and writing partner Jane, was one of the best-known writers from the mid 80’s era of Doctor Who, writing eleven episodes for the series. Together they created the Rani, a female Time Lord scientist who was brought to life so vividly by the late Kate O’Mara, as well a creating the companion Mel.
Pip and Jane Baker began writing together in the 1960s working on the films The Painted Smile, The Break, The Night of the Big Heat and Captain Nemo and the Underwater City. On Television, they worked on the children’s thriller Circus as well as episodes of Z-Cars and Space 1999….
(10) TODAY IN HISTORY.
April 15, 1944 — The Monster Maker (originally titled The Devil’s Apprentice) premiered. It was directed by Sam Newfield and produced from a script written by Sigmund Neufeld, Lawrence Williams, Pierre Gendron and Martin Mooney. It starred J. Carrol Naish, Talla Birell, Wanda McKay and Ralph Morgan. It was largely ignored by critics at the time and it currently holds an extremely low three percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes among audience reviewers. You can see it here.
April 15, 1960 — Teenage Zombies premiered. It was written and directed by Jerry Warren and starring Katherine Victor, Don Sullivan, Chuck Niles, and Warren’s then-wife and the film production manager Brianne Murphy. Warren wrote the screenplay under his pen name Jacques Lecoutier. It was on a double bill with The Incredible Petrified World. Interestingly enough, although the film’s credits include a 1957 copyright statement for G.B.M. Productions, the film was never registered for copyright, so it’s in the public domain. And that means you can watch it here.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 15, 1922 — Michael Ansara. Commander Kang in Trek’s “The Day of The Dove” as well as a lot of other genre work including a recurring role as Kane on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, multiple roles on I Dream of Jeannie andmyriad voicings of Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze in the Batman series. (Died 2013.)
Born April 15, 1933 — Elizabeth Montgomery. She’s best remembered as Samantha Stephens on Bewitched. Other genre roles included being Lili in One Step Beyond’s “The Death Waltz” which you can watch here. She also had one-offs in The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and voicing a Barmaid in the “Showdown” in Batman: The Animated Series. (Died 1995.)
Born April 15, 1937 — Thomas F. Sutton. Comic book artist who’s best known for his contributions to Marvel Comics and Warren Publishing’s line of black-and-white horror magazines. He’s particularly known as the first artist of the Vampirella series. He illustrated “Vampirella of Draculona”, the first story of which was written by Forrest J Ackerman. (Died 2002.)
Born April 15, 1941 — Mal Dean. UK illustrator who, as Clute at EoSF notes, died tragically young of cancer. As Clute goes on, he is “best known for the work he did for New Worlds in the late 1960s and early 1970s; it was especially associated with the Jerry Cornelius stories by Michael Moorcock and others.” (Died 1974.)
Born April 15, 1949 — Sharan Newman, 71. Author of the most excellent Guinevere trilogy (Guinevere, Chessboard Queen and Guinevere Evermore), a superb reinterpretation of the Arthurian saga. They’re available at the usual digital suspects as is her superb Catherine LeVendeur medieval mystery series. Alas her SF short stories are not.
Born April 15, 1974 — Jim C. Hines, 46. [Entry by Paul Weimer.] Writer, and blogger. Jim C. Hines’ first published novel was Goblin Quest, the tale of a nearsighted goblin runt and his pet fire-spider. Jim went on to write the Princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. He’s also the author of the Magic ex Libris books, my personal favorite, which follow the adventures of a magic-wielding librarian from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, who happens to have the same pet fire-spider lifted from the Goblin novels as his best friend. He’s currently writing his first foray into science fiction novels, the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. Jim’s novels usually have the fun and humor dials set on medium to high. Jim is also an active blogger on a variety of topics and won the Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer in 2012.
Born April 15, 1990 — Emma Watson, 30. Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film franchise which lasted an entire decade. She was Belle in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and the voice of Prince Pea in The Tale of Despereaux.
Born April 15, 1997 — Maisie Williams, 23. She made her professional acting debut as Arya Stark of Winterfell in Game of Thrones. She was Ashildr, a Viking woman of unique skills, the principal character of “The Girl Who Died”, during the time of Twelfth Doctor. She is set to star as Wolfsbane in the forthcoming Marvel film New Mutants, due for release sometime this year provided the Plague doesn’t further delay it.
(13) FREE FROM AUDIBLE. Free stories for kids of all ages. Audible Stories is a free website where kids of all ages can listen to hundreds of Audible audio titles across six different languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese. From classics to Harry Potter and other YA.
For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Right now, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids.
All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.
Explore the collection, select a title and start listening.
A mutant bacterial enzyme that breaks down plastic bottles for recycling in hours has been created by scientists.
The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make high-quality new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets.
The company behind the breakthrough, Carbios, said it was aiming for industrial-scale recycling within five years. It has partnered with major companies including Pepsi and L’Oréal to accelerate development. Independent experts called the new enzyme a major advance.
Billions of tonnes of plastic waste have polluted the planet, from the Arctic to the deepest ocean trench, and pose a particular risk to sea life. Campaigners say reducing the use of plastic is key, but the company said the strong, lightweight material was very useful and that true recycling was part of the solution.
Harry Potter-branded buses normally used to take fans to film studio tours are being offered as free transport for staff working in the NHS.
The buses will take them between three sites in Hertfordshire, and will have on-board social distancing rules.
Warner Bros and coach company Golden Tours have had to cancel all trips to the Leavesden studios where much of the Harry Potter filming took place.
The NHS said the move was a “wizard idea”.
“Our workforce has been depleted due to sickness or self-isolation and so it’s really important that those staff who are well, but have transport issues, can come back,” Paul da Gama, from the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, said.
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has secretly bought her childhood home in Gloucestershire.
Renovation work is now taking place on Church Cottage in Tutshill, close to the banks of the River Severn.
The author lived there between the ages of nine and 18 and in 2011 bought the cottage through a property company in her married name.
She paid about £400,000 for the house, which is said to have inspired key elements of the young wizard’s story.
Land Registry records show in September 2011, Edinburgh-based Caernarfon Lettings Ltd, which lists the author’s husband Neil Murray as a director, bought Church Cottage.
The property was sold by BBC producer Julian Mercer, who himself had bought it off the Rowling family in 1995.
(18) ASTRAL METEOROLOGY. The BBC’s weather department reports that “The planets line up”. (“When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter collides with Mars, then pieces of the planets will fly off into the stars…”)
You might get the chance to see something special in the sky in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Around pre-dawn or dawn, if you look towards the Moon from your garden or window, you may notice three other bright dots. These dots are actually Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
Jupiter will be the brightest of the planets, as it shines 14 times brighter than Saturn or Mars. However the three planets will line up together just above the Moon and you should be able to see them all, even with the naked eye. While Jupiter will be the brightest, you may notice Mars with an orange glow and Saturn with a golden tinge. If you’ve got a telescope or even binoculars, you’ll be able to see the difference in the planets more clearly.
(19) LASHING OUT. On yesterday’s Daily Show (or as they’re calling it right now the Daily Social Distancing Show), host Trevor Noah listed a bunch of things Trump has promised to deliver, then said, “At this point Trump owes more pages than George R.R. Martin.” He continued on the Martin theme for the next several sentences. Hey, it’s not fair to build up a head of steam talking about Trump and then vent it on GRRM! (Begins around 9:25.)
[Thanks to Joey Eschrich, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, John King Tarpinian, Lise Andreasen, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, Chip Hitchcock, and JJ for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]
(1) STOKER AWARDS LIVESTREAM. The Horror Writers Association will stream the Bram Stoker Awards ceremony on YouTube on April 18. Link URL in the graphic.
(2) DOCTOR WHO DURING LOCKDOWN. Neil Gaiman wrote “Rory’s Story” for the April 11 watchalong.
It’s 1946. Eight years after he was sent back in time by the Weeping Angels, Rory Williams is dictating his biography… ‘Rory’s Story’ was specially created as an introduction to #BiggerOnTheInside, the worldwide watchalong of the Doctor Who episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ , which took place online on Saturday 11 April 2020. Written by Neil Gaiman and starring Arthur Darvill as Rory, ‘Rory’s Story’ was home-produced remotely during the ‘lockdown’ period of the COVID-19 outbreak in April 2020.
(3) ICONIC ROBOTS. For a short time you can still see Eric Joyner’s collection of “Machine Man Memories” online at the Corey Helford Gallery.
Eric Joyner attended the Academy of Art and the University of San Francisco and went on to establish himself as a commercial artist, creating illustrations for Mattel Toys, Levi’s, Microsoft and Showtime. A member of San Francisco Society of Illustrators and New York Society of Illustrators, Joyner has been an instructor and speaker at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and California College of the Arts. His work has been featured in San Jose Museum of Art’s exhibition “Robots: Evolution of a Cultural Icon”, and he has shown in numerous galleries and cultural institutions worldwide. For additional information about the artist, please visit www.ericjoyner.com.
(4) HYPHENATED HISTORY. [Item by Scott Edelman.] My reread of old comics led to this ad on the back cover of House of Mystery #21 (December 1953).
The founding of this SCIENCE-FICTION BOOK CLUB is a recognition of the fact that Science-Fiction has won a place as an important *new kind* of literature — that it is a valuable addition to the library of every imaginative reader. Science-Fiction has grown so fast it’s hard to keep with it!
A model enthusiast has had his own steampunk designs patented by the British railway brand Hornby.
Laurie Calvert made his first model in 2012 and took the idea to Hornby the following year.
(6) BEWARE PICARD SPOILERS. The Hugo Book Club Blog thought today would be a timely occasion to discuss the theme of resurrection in sff: “The Phoenix Farce”. And did I mention, BEWARE SPOILERS!
Picard is dead for fewer than three and a half minutes of screen time. He literally spends more time saying that he will lay down his life for a cause than he spends being dead. Why should viewers get emotionally invested in Picard putting his life on the line when his life costs him nothing?
Although the finale of Star Trek: Picard’s first season provides a case example of this trend, we’d like to be clear that his pointless death and meaningless resurrection is by far not the most underwhelming. Even within the past few years of Star Trek, we’d note Dr. Hugh Culber’s resurrection in Star Trek: Discovery, and Kirk’s resurrection in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
This latter example offers an interesting comparison between resurrections of fictional characters, and what makes some more egregious than others. Into Darkness is a soft remake of The Wrath of Khan, and follows many of the same character moments: a reactor overloading, and a beloved protagonist sacrificing themselves for the greater good. In the case of The Wrath of Khan, it’s Spock who gives his life for the greater good, while in Into Darkness, it’s James Kirk. In both cases, the character who dies gets a prolonged death scene, and an emotional farewell. The narrative asks audiences to grieve for the character’s demise…
His two biggest movies were 1981’s Time Bandits, directed by Terry Gilliam. He played Strutter among an all-star cast including Sean Connery, John Cleese, and Shelley Duvall. Two years later, he played an Ewok warrior in the conclusion to the original Star Wars Trilogy, Return of the Jedi.
April 12, 1940 — Black Friday premiered. It was directed by Arthur Lubin from a screenplay by Curt Siodmak (who won a Retro Hugo last year for Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man) and Eric Taylor. Though Boris Karloff and Béla Lugosi were co-billed, Lugosi only has a rather small part in the film and does not appear on screen with Karloff. Universal Had cast Lugosi as the Doctor and Karloff as the Professor, but Karloff insisted on playing the Doctor. So Lugosi was given the minor role of a rival gangster, while Stanley Ridges was brought in to play the Professor. Reception was mixed with some critics loving the double billing, but the NYT noted that “Lugosi’s terrifying talents are wasted”. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the audience reviewers give it a rating of 49%. It is in the the public domain now, so you can watch it here.
April 12, 1940 — Dr. Cyclops premiered. It was produced by Dale Van Every and Merian C. Cooper, and directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack. It starred Thomas Coley, Victor Kilian, Janice Logan, Charles Halton, Frank Yaconelli, and Albert Dekker. It was written by Tom Kilpatrick from a short story by Henry Kuttner which first appeared in the June 1940 of Thrilling Wonder Stories. Critics thought it cheesy but were generally favorable in their reviews overall. Audience reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes give it a 56% rating.
(10) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born April 12, 1884 — Bob Olsen. He wrote twenty-seven poems and stories that were published in Amazing Stories in the late Twenties and early Thirties. He’s one of the first authors to use the term “space marines”. A search of both print and digital publishers does not show any indication that any of his genre or mystery fiction is now in-print. (Died 1956.)
Born April 12, 1915 — Emil Petaja. He considered his work to be part of an older tradition of ‘weird fiction.’ He published thirteen novels and some one hundred fifty short stories. His Otava series, published by Ace Books in the Sixties, is based on the Finnish national myth, The Kalevala. (Died 2000.)
Born April 12, 1916 — Beverly Cleary, 104. The oldest living author ever to get Birthday honors. One of America’s most successful living authors, almost a hundred million copies of her children’s books have been sold worldwide since her first book was published in seventy years ago. Some of her best known characters are Ramona Quimby and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy, and Ralph S. Mouse.
Born April 12, 1921 — Carol Emshwiller. I think her short stories are amazing and The Start of the End of It All and Other Stories collection won a World Fantasy Award. She’d later receive a Life Achievement from the group of judges chosen by the World Fantasy Awards Administration. I’ve not read her novels, so which would you recommend I read? (Died 2019.)
Born April 12, 1922 — Vince Clarke. He first made acquaintance with fandom in the late Thirties, and was active as a fanwriter and editor from a decade hence including Science Fantasy News. He’d be the winner of the first TAFF in the early Fifties but was unable to attend. He ran the 1957 Worldcon, Loncon I, and he was Fan Guest of Honor at the 1995 Worldcon, Intersection. He’s responsible for creation of the British Science Fiction Association. (Died 1998.)
Born April 12, 1929 — Elspet Gray. She had two great roles, first as Lady Collingford in Catweazle, a Richard Carpenter series. Second she played Chancellor Thalia in “Arc of Infinity“ a Fifth Doctor story. She also played Mrs. Dresland in The Girl in a Swing based on the Richard Adams novel. (Died 2013.)
Born April 12, 1936 — Charles Napier. Adam in one of the worst original Trek episodes done, “The Way to Eden”. He had one-offs, and this is not a complete list, on Mission Impossible, The Incredible Hulk, Knight Rider, Tales of The Golden Monkey, The Incredible Hulk Returns, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Deep Space Nine and voiced Agent Zed in the animated Men in Black series. (Died 2011.)
Born April 12, 1974 — Marley Shelton, 46. She’s been in such pulp undertakings as Sin City, Grindhouse and Scream 4, not to overlook Hercules in the Underworld and Pleasantville in which she was Margaret Henderson. She was to be Victoria Winters in the unsold Dark Shadows pilot done fifteen years ago.
Why we care: Good ideas sometimes come from unexpected places. Consider the furry community, prone to the kink of wearing Disney World mascot-style animal costumes in public. Is it an unusual lifestyle? Absolutely. However, it just might be one that presents a path toward thriving in these antimicrobial times.
On the first episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee since the rapid spread of COVID-19 plunged much of America into quarantine, the hygienic wisdom of the furry community is on display. Correspondent Amy Hoggart infiltrates a furry convention that took place earlier this month to interview people who are used to wearing protective covering over their entire bodies while interacting with others.
(12) SHELL GAME. Last night on Saturday Night Live, “Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
The Mutant Ninja Turtles aren’t teenagers anymore in an update of the animated series that shows how the superheroes face problems as middle-aged adults.
[Thanks to Scott Edelman, John King Tarpinian, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Chip Hitchcock, Mike Kennedy, Michael Toman, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Chris S.]
HWA members have until March 15 to submit their Bram Stoker Awards® final ballots.
The winners will be announced during the Annual Bram Stoker Awards Banquet®
held during the StokerCon™ 2020 in Scarborough, England.
This is not the list of finalists, nor are they called nominees: it is the list which HWA members will choose from when they vote to determine the finalists. The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced in April at StokerCon UK.
The Final Ballot (Bram Stoker
Award® Nominees for the 2019 calendar year) will be announced on
February 23, 2020.
Tanabe, Gou – H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness Volume 1 (Dark
Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Breukelaar, J.S. – Like Ripples on a Blank Shore (Collision:
Stories) (Meerkat Press, LLC)
Cluley, Ray – Adrenaline Junkies (The Porcupine Boy and Other
Anthological Oddities) (Crossroad Press)
Jones, Pam – Ivy Day (Spaceboy Books LLC)
LaValle, Victor – Up from Slavery (Weird Tales Magazine#363)(Weird
Manzetti, Alessandro – The Keeper of Chernobyl (Omnium Gatherum)
Serafini, Matt – Rites of Extinction (Grindhouse Press)
Smith, Farah Rose – Anonyma (Ulthar Press)
Taborska, Anna – The Cat Sitter (Shadowcats) (Black
Tantlinger, Sara – To Be Devoured (Unnerving)
Thomas, Richard – Ring of Fire (The Seven Deadliest) (Cutting Block Books)
Warren, Kaaron – Into Bones Like Oil (Meerkat Shorts)
Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Chapman, Greg – “The Book of Last Words” (This Sublime
Darkness and Other Dark Stories) (Things in the Well
Kiste, Gwendolyn – “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from
Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” (Nightmare MagazineNov. 2019, Issue 86)
Landry, Jess – “Bury Me in Tar and Twine” (Tales of the LostVolume 1: We All
Lose Something!) (Things in the Well Publishing)
Little, John R. – “Anniversary” (Dark Tides: A Charity Horror Anthology) (Gestalt
MacKenzie, Brooke – “The Elevator Game”(Who Knocks?
Magazine Issue #2)
O’Quinn, Cindy – “Lydia” (The Twisted Book of Shadows) (Twisted Publishing)
Serna-Grey, Ben – “Where Gods Dance”(Apex Magazine Issue #118)
Waggoner, Tim – “A Touch of Madness”(The Pulp
Horror Book of Phobias) (LVP Publications)
Westlake, Jack – “Glass Eyes in Porcelain Faces” (Black Static
Issue #70) (TTS Press)
White, Gordon B. – “Birds of Passage” (Twice-Told: A
Collection of Doubles) (Chthonic Matter)
Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Chambers, James – On the Night Border (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Chiang, Ted – Exhalation: Stories (Knopf)
Evenson, Brian – Song for the Unraveling of the World (Coffee
Hodson, Brad C. – Where Carrion Gods Dance (Washington Park Press)
Howard, Kat – A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories(Gallery/Saga
Johnson, L.S. – Rare Birds: Stories (Traversing Z Press)
Jonez, Kate – Lady Bits (Trepidatio Publishing)
Langan, John – Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus
Read, Sarah – Out of Water (Trepidatio Publishing)
Tremblay, Paul – Growing Things and Other Stories (William Morrow)
Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Aster, Ari – Midsommar (B-Reel Films, Square Peg)
Busick, Guy and Murphy, Ryan – Ready or Not (Mythology Entertainment)
Duffer Brothers, The – Stranger Things (Season 3, Chapter Eight: The Battle
of Starcourt) (Netflix)
Eggers, Robert and Eggers, Max – The Lighthouse (A24,
New Regency Pictures, RT Features)
Flanagan, Mike – Doctor Sleep (Warner Bros., Intrepid
Gilroy, Dan – Velvet Buzzsaw (Netflix)
Hageman, Dan and Hageman, Kevin – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1212
Entertainment, CBS Films, DDY, Entertainment One, Rolling Hills Productions,
Sean Daniel Company, Starlight International Media)
López, Issa – Tigers Are Not Afraid (Filmadora Nacional, Peligrosa)
Peele, Jordan – Us (Monkeypaw Productions, Perfect
World Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Universal
Sutherland, Teresa – The Wind (Soapbox Films, Divide/Conquer, Mind
Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Beltran, Patrick and Ward, D. Alexander – The Seven Deadliest (Cutting Block Books)
Brozek, Jennifer – A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (Pulse Publishing)
Cade, Octavia – Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up to No Good (Upper Rubber Boot Books)
Datlow, Ellen – Echoes (Gallery/Saga Press)
Golden, Christopher and Moore, James A. – The Twisted Book of Shadows (Twisted Publishing)
Guignard, Eric J. – Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters, and Hot Rod Horror (Dark Moon Books)
Johnson, Eugene and Dillon, Steve – Tales of the Lost Volume 1: We All Lose Something! (Things in the Well Publishing)
Jones, Stephen – Best New Horror #29 (PS Publishing)
Schweitzer, Darrell – Mountains of Madness Revealed (PS Publishing)
Wilson, Robert S. – Nox Pareidolia (Nightscape Press)
Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Beal, Eleanor and Greenaway, Jonathan – Horror and Religion: New Literary Approaches to Theology, Race, and Sexuality (University of Wales Press)
Earle, Harriet E.H. – Gender, Sexuality, and Queerness in American Horror Story: Critical Essays (McFarland)
Eighteen-Bisang, Robert and Miller, Elizabeth – Drafts of Dracula (Tellwell Talent)
Grafius, Brandon R. – Reading the Bible with Horror (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic)
Heller-Nicholas, Alexandra – Masks in Horror Cinema: Eyes Without Faces (University of Wales Press)
Kachuba, John B. – Shapeshifters: A History (Reaktion Books)
Kröger, Lisa and Anderson, Melanie R. – Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction (Quirk Books)
Stobbart, Dawn – Videogames and Horror: From Amnesia to Zombies, Run! (University of Wales Press)
Tibbetts, John C. – The Furies of Marjorie Bowen (McFarland)
Volk, Stephen – Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror (PS Publishing)
Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction
Clasen, Mathias – Evolution, Cognition, and Horror: A Précis of Why Horror
Seduces (Journal of Cognitive Historiography Vol 4, No 2)
Hurley, Gavin F. – Between Hell and Earth: Rhetorical Appropriation of
Religious Space within Hellraiser (The Spaces
and Places of Horror, Vernon Press)
Kiste, Gwendolyn – Magic, Madness, and Women Who Creep: The Power of Individuality in
the Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Vastarien: A Literary
Journal Vol. 2, Issue 1)
Liaguno, Vince A. – Slasher Films Made Me Gay: The Queer Appeal and Subtext of the
Genre (LGBTQ+ Horror Month: 9/1/2019, Ginger Nuts of
Mann, Craig Ian – The Beast Without: The Cinematic Werewolf as a (Counter)Cultural
Metaphor (Horror Studies Journal Volume 10.1)
Renner, Karen J. – The Evil Aging Women of American Horror Story (Elder Horror:
Essays on Film’s Frightening Images of Aging, McFarland)
Robinson, Kelly – Film’s First Lycanthrope: 1913’s The Werewolf (Scary
Monsters Magazine #114)
Waggoner, Tim – Riding Out the Storms (Writing in the Dark)
Weich, Valerie E. – Lord Byron’s Whipping Boy: Dr. John
William Polidori and the 200th Anniversary of The Vampyre(Famous
Monsters of Filmland, Issue #291)
Worth, Aaron – From the Books of Wandering: Fin-De-Siècle Poetics of a
Supernatural Figure (The Times Literary Supplement)
Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Addison, Linda D. and Manzetti, Alessandro – The Place of Broken Things (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Cade, Octavia – Mary Shelley Makes a Monster (Aqueduct Press)
Coffman, Frank – The Coven’s Hornbook & Other Poems (Bold Venture Press)
(1) LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. Authors Charlie Jane Anders, Holly Black, Seanan McGuire, and John Scalzi, as well as many other writers outside of the genre, will be at the “2019 Library of Congress National Book Festival”. The Festival will be held in Washington, DC at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on August 31. Check out the Festival blog.
(2) ON THE WAY TO THE MOON. The first two episodes of the new Washington Post podcast Moonrise focus heavily on John W. Campbell and Astounding Science Fiction, and it looks like there’s a lot more to come. Episodes can be downloaded from various distributors, or listened to through the Post’s website.
Want to uncover the real origin story behind the United States’ decision to go to the moon? In the 50 years since the moon landing, as presidential documents have been declassified and secret programs revealed, a wild story has begun to emerge. “Moonrise,” a new Washington Post audio miniseries hosted by Lillian Cunningham, digs into the nuclear arms race of the Cold War, the transformation of American society and politics ?— and even the birth of science fiction ?— to unearth what really drove us to the moon. Listen to the episodes as they’re released each week, and come along with us on a fascinating journey from Earth to the moon.
(3) WHAT IS “SENSE OF WONDER”? In
Men and Original Sins” at Image, Adam
Roberts reviews the movie First Man, Catherine Newell’s Chesley
Bonestell biography Destined
for the Stars: Faith, Future, and America’s Final Frontier, and Kendrick Oliver’s To Touch the Face of God, in
order to discuss the sense of wonder many feel about space.
PROFANE IS AN INTERESTING WORD. Etymologically the word describes the ground outside—or, strictly, in front of (pro)—the temple (fanum). How do we understand the profanity, or otherwise, of space travel? Is earth the temple and outer space the outer (pro) fanum? Or could it be that the heavens are the temple, and it’s we who are stuck down here in a mundane, profane antechamber? Is the sense of wonder that attends space exploration fundamentally a religious impulse? Or is the achievement of Apollo a triumph of solidly non-spiritual science, engineering, technology, and materialism?
This matter is addressed by To Touch the Face of God, Kendrick Oliver’s absorbing social history of the space program. Oliver has sensible things to say about the limitations of simply mapping the religious convictions of NASA scientists and astronauts onto a project like Apollo, but nonetheless he assembles a convincing picture of just how interpenetrated the undertaking was by a kind of providentialist, Protestant ethos, exploring the pros and cons of considering spaceflight as a religious experience. He’s especially good on the way the program channeled national concerns about the separation of church and state, a debate that had been galvanized by the 1963 Supreme Court judgment ruling mandatory school prayer unconstitutional.
As Apollo 8 orbited the moon in December of 1968, astronaut Bill Anders informed “all the people back on earth” that “the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.” They then read the creation account of Genesis 1 aloud. The reading, Oliver shows, had an enormous impact. The Christian Century ran an editorial declaring themselves “struck dumb by this event,” and Apollo flight director Gene Kranz wept openly in the control room: “for those moments,” he later recalled, “I felt the presence of creation and the Creator.”
(5) STUDENT JOURNALISTS LOOK INTO SCA. Paul Matisz was one
of the people interviewed by the student magazine The Tattler for its
article about “The Dark Side of Medieval Reenactment.” (The issue is here, and the article is on pages 17-19.) Matisz, who formerly
participated in the Society for Creative Anachronism as Fulk Beauxarmes, has
posted the full text of his responses on his blog “Interviewed
for an Article on the SCA”. He praised the thoroughness of their
Here’s a clipping from the article:
(6) RINGS A BELL. While skimming Shelf Awareness, Andrew Porter spotted a notice for The Best of Manhunt edited by Jeff Vorzimmer (“… the crime-fiction magazine Manhunt (1952-1967)….editor Jeff Vorzimmer has pulled together 39 gripping and pitiless tales…”) That seemed an uncommon name and he wondered if this fellow was any relation to Fifties fan Peter Vorzimer (with one “m”, his fannish AKA spelling). Indeed, Jeff is his son, as confirmed by this blog post: “Death in Hollywood” (2017). I’ve heard of Peter myself – his name was still cropping up in anecdotes about the old days of LASFS when I joined in the Seventies. Most of this excerpt quotes a reminiscence written by Peter himself:
My father was in the last half of his senior year at Hollywood High and … he was inconvenienced by losing his driver’s license for a year.
“It was on the way to HAC one day, March 17th, 1954, that I got involved in an accident in which I killed an elderly pedestrian. Which, though she had made some negligent contribution, cost me my driver’s license for one year. It also took the wind out of my senior year of high school.
“My lack of wheels forced me to concentrate on my writing skills—particularly my editorship of an amateur science fiction magazine, Abstract, a fanzine, as they are called. This brought me closer to a group of similarly minded young men. Charley Wilgus was my closest friend, followed by Don Donnell, Jimmy Clemons and Burt Satz. Don was the most creative and, at 16, already a good writer; Burt, who was universally picked on by the rest, was the best read (Hemingway, Joyce, and a host of others). Clemons introduced me to the world of Science Fiction and the L. A. Science Fiction Society—whose meetings were attended by E. E. “Doc” Smith, Ray Bradbury, and the agent Forry Ackerman. Possibly because of its controversial—read argumentative—editorials, its excellent mimeographed and often salacious art, Abstract became quite popular in the world of science fiction fandom. The high point of my early career was my bus trip to San Francisco to meet various pen pals: Gilbert Minicucci, Terry Carr, Bob Stewart, and Pete Graham. It took something for my mother to permit her 15-year-old son to go up by bus to San Francisco from L.A. to attend a Sci Fi convention on his own for a week!”
(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]
Born July 30, 1911 — Reginald Bretnor. Author of many genre short stories involving Ferdinand Feghoot, a comical figure indeed. It looks like all of these are available in digital form on iBooks and Kindle. He was a consummate SJW. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats which was written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote myriad articles about cats, was a companion to cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats. Of course, most of us do. (Died 1992.)
Born July 30, 1927 — Victor Wong. I’ll single him out here for his role as the Chinese sorcerer Egg Shen in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, a film I adore. He also appeared in Beauty and the Beast as Dr. Wong in the “China Moon” episode, and in Poltergeist: The Legacy as Lee Tzin-Soong in the “Fox Spirit” episode. (Died 2001.)
Born July 30, 1948 — Carel Struycken, 71. I remember him best as the gong ringing Mr. Homn on Next Gen, companion to Troi’s mother. He was also Lurch in The Addams Family, Addams Family Values and the Addams Family Reunion. He’s listed as being Fidel in The Witches of Eastwick but I’ll be damned if I remembered his role in that film. And he’s in Ewoks: The Battle for Endor which I’ve never seen…
Born July 30, 1961 — Laurence Fishburne, 58. Appeared in The Matrix films of which I watched at least two before deciding I could be reading something more interesting. His voice work as Thrax in Osmosis Jones on the other hand is outstanding as is his role as Bill Foster in Ant-Man.
Born July 30, 1966 — Jess Nevins, 53. Author of the superlative Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victorian and the equally great Heroes & Monsters: The Unofficial Companion to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I didn’t know he was an author ‘til now but he has two genre novels, The Road to Prester John and The Datong Incident.
Born July 30, 1970 — Christopher Nolan, 49. Obviously the Batman films of which I think I’ve seen several (too noisy, too vivid). However The Prestige is magnificent as is Inception and Interstellar.
Born July 30, 1975 — Cherie Priest, 44. Her southern gothic Eden Moore series is quite good and Clockwork Universe series isa refreshing take on steampunk which has been turned into full cast audiobooks. I’ve not read Cheshire Red Reports novels so have no idea how they are.
Born July 30, 1984 — Gina Rodriguez, 35. Anya Thorensen in Annihilation based on Jeff VanderMeer’s novels which I’ve read though I’ve not seen the film. She was also Robin I the “Subway” episode of the Eleventh Hour series, and directed the “Witch Perfect” episode of the new Charmed series.
Here’s a pair of vintages that should be engaging to “Star Trek” fans.
The first two selections in a new Star Trek Wines series are available with one celebrating the United Federation of Planets, the other paying tribute to the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” character Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart.
The 2016 Chateau Picard Cru Bourgeois from Bordeaux, France, is timely as Stewart’s Picard returns next year in a new CBS All Access series, “Star Trek: Picard.” That wine can be purchased along with a numbered, limited edition of the United Federation of Planets Special Reserve for $120 (Only 1,701 packs will be sold. Star Trek fans will know 1701 as the starship Enterprise’s identification number.)
The wines, available at StarTrekWines.com, are being brought to market by Wines that Rock, which sells wines carrying the labels of rock bands such as The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, and The Police and Woodstock. They will be poured at the Star Trek Las Vegas event, which runs Wednesday to Sunday.
(10) DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? Who needs a Hugo Award when
you’ve got an SJW Credential?
…This was the start of what Emett called his “machines.” He gained international fame for designing the contraptions featured in the 1968 film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” Soon, companies began hiring him to create fanciful machines to use in their marketing.
As for the sculptures at Air and Space, “The Exploratory Moon-Probe Lunacycle M.A.U.D.” was on loan and eventually went back to Britain. The museum commissioned “S.S. Pussiewillow II” — imagine a wispy dirigible — but removed it from display in 1990 after a motor caught fire, burning a “flying carpet” that was part of the work.
Despite that, “Emett’s machines are remarkably reliable,” said Tim Griffiths, founder of the Rowland Emett Society, a group of enthusiasts. “The motor that failed on the Pussiewillow wasn’t the original and was possibly installed because of the difference in voltages between the U.K. and U.S.”
It’s a cameo that makes perfect sense and at London Film and Comic Con last weekend, Robert Picardo (The EMH and Dr Zimmerman from Star Trek Voyager) confirmed that his agent was in talks with CBS to possibly return in Season 2 of Star Trek Picard.
“I am pleased that they (CBS) have expressed interest in me. They have reached out to my agent about next season. So I’m looking forward to seeing what it is. As you know I play two characters, primarily the Doctor but also Lewis Zimmerman.”
Robert Picardo – Sunday 28th July, LFCC.
A recording of the entire interview is here —
[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, Alec Nevala-Lee, John
King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Rob Thornton, Carl
Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of thee stories. Title credit goes to
File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
The Horror Writers Association has formal guidelines that describe the right and wrong ways for members to promote work for the organization’s top award. In what were formerly called the “Etiquette Rules,” now the “Guidelines for Promoting Works for Bram Stoker Award Consideration” HWA gives positive examples of ways to publicize fiction to Stoker Award jurors and other members, some hosted on the organization’s own social media, and warns against unacceptable conduct that can disqualify a work from consideration.
HOW THE STOKER WINNERS ARE PICKED. The Stoker Award winners are chosen by a “partial jury system.” A dozen award categories each have their own small jury panel (and “You may not spam the Jury” is one of the rules.) There is a preliminary and a final ballot. The preliminary ballot lists 10 nominees in each category, five works that have received at least 5 recommendations during the year from members, if there are that many, and the rest of the slots filled by the jury. Members vote on the preliminary ballot for five works in each category to go on to the Final Ballot. The final round of voting determines the award winners.
THE GUIDELINES. The 2,200-word Guidelines begin with a list of
five acceptable ways to promote a work, for example —
A. PUBLICIZE: The very best way to promote a book for a Bram Stoker Award® is to publicize the book as widely as possible. Most HWA members who participate in the Bram Stoker Award process are voracious readers and enthusiastic film buffs, and subscribe to a variety of magazines, newsletters, and web sites that offer reviews and ads for horror-related material.
HWA also tells how to promote work through its own publications
and social media, within limits that promote a level playing field.
The rules end with 10 prohibitions, including —
You may not send unsolicited emails or other forms of contact (such as Twitter) promoting your work for a Bram Stoker Award®….
While individual SFWA officers over the years have written advice about appropriate ways to pursue the Nebula Award, the organization doesn’t have its own formal guidelines. Only SFWA members can answer if one would help.
As to how well HWA’s rules work for them — I decided to ask.
The co-chairs of the Bram Stoker Awards Committee, James Chambers, C.W. LaSart, and Rena Mason, kindly agreed to answer File 770’s questions about the Guidelines/Etiquette Rules.
1. What are some examples of the problems that caused HWA to formulate the Etiquette Rules?
The Etiquette Rules were created to provide a positive process for members to share their work for Stoker consideration and preserve the integrity of the Awards. They ended a number of unpopular tactics some people used to promote their work. This included e-mailing members who were not interested in receiving works for consideration (or even sending them print books before the e-book boom), spamming members with multiple e-mails, attempts at trading recommendations, and campaigning in general for recs and votes. As more and more business moved online it became much easier to reach people and cross the line of acceptable professional contact, and the Awards needed to adapt for that. It’s one thing to make works available for those who would like to read and consider them. It’s another to badger and promote. The Etiquette rules closed the door to promoting works for Award consideration but left open the door to making work available to other HWA members in a respectful way.
2. Did these problems primarily affect who became finalists, or (apart from getting on the ballot) did they influence who won the Bram Stoker Awards?
Generally, no. They might have affected what works appeared on the Recommended Works list and could’ve contributed to a work reaching the Preliminary Ballot, but they didn’t have much influence over actual voting which is limited to Active members, who are members with a professional publication history.
3. The preliminary ballot is the product of a “partial jury system,” containing some works recommended by members, and additional works recommended by the jurors. What are examples of problems that cannot be overcome even with the inclusion of a jury?
The two-tiered preliminary ballot system does a good job of eliminating or minimizing the problems that arise in any awards process. The one thing it doesn’t do as well as we would like is inform the perceptions of those who want something to criticize, but who are not involved with the process and so operate off of often-erroneous assumptions about how works land on the ballot.
4. Who helped draft the original Etiquette Rules, and what year did they come into existence?
The etiquette rules have been around since the inception of the awards, added to every year by HWA Member suggestions, the Awards Committee, HWA Officers, and the Board of Trustees. They’ve been fine-tuned and updated by many HWA members over the years.
5. Are these rules enforced? What is the process for detecting and addressing conduct that violates the rules?
The Rules are enforced. It’s understood that breaching them can lead to a work being disqualified or can work against it by creating negative feelings within HWA membership. We often field questions from authors who want to make sure they don’t breach the etiquette. They take it seriously as do the vast majority of our members and non-members presenting their work. Any HWA member can report a violation. Members of the Awards Committee also monitor conduct. Violations are addressed directly with whoever breached the etiquette in accordance with our bylaws. Cases are discussed and resolved by the Committee.
6. The rules emphasize “the difference between promoting and soliciting,” and define the difference between those behaviors. HWA has a lot of infrastructure in its official publications and social media to help members gain exposure for their work without violating the spirit of the rules. Were such provisions as taking ads in publications, and one-time Facebook announcements, added to support the rules, or did HWA do things like that all along?
One-time Facebook announcements and limits on e-mail contact are more recent developments to respond to changing technology and support the rules, but there have always been rules or accepted practices guiding the process. The infrastructure has evolved and become better documented over the years. It’s there to facilitate sharing news with our membership in a positive way. Most of our members follow genre news pretty closely so just promoting work in general often puts it on their radar.
7. In your opinion, is campaigning for a Bram Stoker Award effective? If the answer is yes, is it effective for anyone, or more effective for a subset of authors, and what would distinguish that subset — name recognition, publisher, something else?
It’s not really effective. While all HWA members can recommend works for Stoker consideration, only Active members may vote. A campaign effort that somehow slips past the general membership and the Committee might land a work on the Preliminary Ballot based on the number of recommendations it receives. There it will be one of ten, but very likely the members who recommended it in response to a campaign won’t be voting members (only Active Members with a proven publication history can vote) so those works are very likely to drop off the ballot. There’s no particular subset of authors or works that’s more likely to benefit over another in a campaigning sense. Big name authors, of course, have wider recognition and larger readerships that can help them but that’s different from campaigning. Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates are not campaigning for a
Stoker, but they’re frequently recommended and nominated because a lot of HWA members read them.
8. What was the most recent improvement to the Etiquette Rules? Are there any proposed changes under consideration, and what are they about?
The most recent changes were the rules about posting on Facebook and providing links to works online via an Internet mailer that the HWA compiles and sends to members. An etiquette-related change is that we no longer display the number of recommendations a work has received on an ongoing basis, which removes a temptation for authors to try drumming up more recommendations when other works in the same category get ahead of them. There are no concrete proposed changes on the table right now, but the Committee and HWA officers are always observing the process and discussing refinements. Our membership has grown about threefold in the past eight years, too, so we’re always taking into consideration how that affects the Awards dynamic and looking for ways to improve it.
File 770 thanks the Bram Stoker Awards co-chairs for sharing