2019 Bram Stoker Awards®
Final Ballot

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) released the Final Ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards® on February 20.

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.

2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Goingback, Owl – Coyote Rage (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Malerman, Josh – Inspection (Del Rey)
  • Miskowski, S.P. – The Worst is Yet to Come (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Murray, Lee – Into the Ashes (Severed Press)
  • Wendig, Chuck – Wanderers (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Amor, Gemma – Dear Laura (Independently Published)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Doorways to the Deadeye (JournalStone)
  • Lane, Michelle Renee – Invisible Chains (Haverhill House Publishing)
  • Read, Sarah – The Bone Weaver’s Orchard (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Starling, Caitlin – The Luminous Dead (Harper Voyager)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Bérubé, Amelinda – Here There Are Monsters (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • Dávila Cardinal, Ann – Five Midnights (Tor Teen)
  • Gardner, Liana – Speak No Evil (Vesuvian Books)
  • Marshall, Kate Alice – Rules for Vanishing (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Nzondi – Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Salomon, Peter Adam – Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds (PseudoPsalms Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 2 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Gaiman, Neil – Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Books)
  • Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 4: The Chosen (Image Comics)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Calcutta Horror (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Tanabe, Gou – H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness Volume 1 (Dark Horse Manga)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • LaValle, Victor – Up from Slavery (Weird Tales Magazine #363) (Weird Tales Inc.)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – The Keeper of Chernobyl (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Taborska, Anna – The Cat Sitter (Shadowcats) (Black Shuck Books)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – To Be Devoured (Unnerving)
  • 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 Publishing)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – “The Eight People Who Murdered Me (Excerpt from Lucy Westenra’s Diary)” (Nightmare Magazine Nov. 2019, Issue 86)
  • Landry, Jess – “Bury Me in Tar and Twine” (Tales of the Lost Volume 1: We All Lose Something!) (Things in the Well Publishing)
  • O’Quinn, Cindy – “Lydia” (The Twisted Book of Shadows) (Twisted Publishing)
  • Waggoner, Tim – “A Touch of Madness” (The Pulp Horror Book of Phobias) (LVP Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Chiang, Ted – Exhalation: Stories (Knopf)
  • Jonez, Kate – Lady Bits (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Langan, John – Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus Press)
  • 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)
  • 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 Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment)
  • Peele, Jordan – Us (Monkeypaw Productions, Perfect World Pictures, Dentsu, Fuji Television Network, Universal Pictures)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Brozek, Jennifer – A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (Pulse Publishing)
  • Datlow, Ellen – Echoes: The Saga Anthology of Ghost Stories (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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

Superior Achievement in Short Non-Fiction

  • 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 Horror)
  • 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)
  • 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)

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)
  • Lynch, Donna – Choking Back the Devil (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Scalise, Michelle – Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning (LVP Publications)
  • Simon, Marge and Dietrich, Bryan D. – The Demeter Diaries (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – The Apocalyptic Mannequin (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

2019 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2019 Bram Stoker Awards®.

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.

2019 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Goingback, Owl – Coyote Rage (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Goodfellow, Cody – Unamerica (King Shot Press)
  • Lawson, Curtis M. – Black Heart Boys’ Choir (Wyrd Horror)
  • Little, John R. – The Murder of Jesus Christ (Bad Moon Books)
  • Malerman, Josh – Inspection (Del Rey)
  • Miskowski, S.P. – The Worst is Yet to Come (TrepidatioPublishing)
  • Moore, Michael J –  Highway Twenty (Hellbound BooksPublishing LLC)
  • Murray, Lee – Into the Ashes (Severed Press)
  • Nevill, Adam L.G. – The Reddening (Ritual Limited)
  • Taff, John F.D. – The Fearing (Grey Matter Press)
  • Wendig, Chuck – Wanderers (Del Rey)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Amor, Gemma – Dear Laura (Independently Published)
  • Cull, Andrew – Remains (IFWG Publishing International)
  • Day, Nicholas – Grind Your Bones to Dust (Excession Press)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – Doorways to the Deadeye (JournalStone)
  • Hopstaken, Steven and Prusi, Melissa – Stoker’s Wilde (Flame Tree Press)
  • Lane, Michelle Renee – Invisible Chains (Haverhill HousePublishing)
  • Luff, Cody T – Ration (Apex Book Company)
  • Moulton, Rachel Eve – Tinfoil Butterfly (MCD x FSG Originals)
  • Read, Sarah – The Bone Weaver’s Orchard (TrepidatioPublishing)
  • Starling, Caitlin – The Luminous Dead (Harper Voyager)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Bérubé, Amelinda – Here There Are Monsters (Sourcebooks Fire)
  • Dávila Cardinal, Ann – Five Midnights (Tor Teen)
  • Ernshaw, Shea – Winterwood (Simon Pulse)
  • Faring, Sara – The Tenth Girl (Imprint)
  • Gardner, Liana – Speak No Evil (Vesuvian Books)
  • Kurtagich, Dawn – Teeth in the Mist (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Marshall, Kate Alice – Rules for Vanishing (Viking Books for Young Readers)
  • Nzondi – Oware Mosaic (Omnium Gatherum)
  • Salomon, Peter Adam – Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds (PseudoPsalms Press)
  • West, Jacqueline – Last Things (Greenwillow Books)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 2 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish Vol. 3 (BOOM! Studios)
  • Cates, Donny – Redneck Volume 3: Longhorns (Image Comics)
  • Gaiman, Neil – Neil Gaiman’s Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Books)
  • Guillory, Rob – Rob Guillory’s Farmhand Volume 1: Reap What Was Sown (Image Comics)
  • Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Book 2: Original Sins (Image Comics)
  • Lemire, Jeff – Gideon Falls Volume 3: Stations of the Cross(Image Comics)
  • Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 4: The Chosen (Image Comics)
  • Manzetti, Alessandro – Calcutta Horror (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Tanabe, Gou – H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness Volume 1 (Dark Horse Manga)

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 Tales Inc.)
  • 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 Shuck Books)
  • 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 Publishing)
  • 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 Media)
  • 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 House Press)
  • Hodson, Brad C. – Where Carrion Gods Dance (Washington Park Press)
  • Howard, Kat – A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories(Gallery/Saga Press)
  • Johnson, L.S. – Rare Birds: Stories (Traversing Z Press)
  • Jonez, Kate – Lady Bits (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Langan, John – Sefira and Other Betrayals (Hippocampus Press)
  • 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 Pictures/Vertigo Entertainment)
  • 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 Pictures) 
  • Sutherland, Teresa – The Wind (Soapbox Films, Divide/Conquer, Mind Hive Films)

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 Horror)
  • 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)
  • Crum, Amanda – Tall Grass (Independently Published) 
  • Davitt, Deborah L. – The Gates of Never (Finishing Line Press)
  • Lynch, Donna – Choking Back the Devil (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Mitchell, Zoe – Hag (Indigo Dreams Publishing)
  • Scalise, Michelle – Dragonfly and Other Songs of Mourning (LVP Publications)
  • Simon, Marge and Dietrich, Bryan D. – The Demeter Diaries(Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – The Macabre Modern and Other Morbidities (P’rea Press)
  • Wytovich, Stephanie M. – The Apocalyptic Mannequin: The Definition of Body is Buried (Raw Dog Screaming Press) 

[Update 01/21/2020: Dropped the Stephen Jones anthology, which has been removed from the list on the Bram Stoker Award site.]

Pixel Scroll 7/30/19 All Those Pixels Will Be Lost In Files, Like Scrolls In The Rain

(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 “First 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.”

(4) HWA GUIDELINES. Nick Mamatas reacted to yesterday’s post, “Bram Stoker Awards Co-Chairs Interviewed About HWA Guidelines for Promoting Works”

(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 reporting.

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. 

(8) COMICS SECTION.

(9) CORKING GOOD NEWS. “New ‘Star Trek’ wine lets you sample Capt. Jean-Luc Picard’s vino”USA Today tells where you can pick up a bottle.  

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?

(11) FLIGHTS OF FANCY. In the Washington Post, John Kelly inquires about the work of eccentric British artist Rowland Emett at the National Air and Space Museum.  If Emett isn’t a sf artist, he is certainly “sf-adjacent” — “Air and Space Museum used to feature flying machines of the strangest sort”.

…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.”

(12) NOT JONAH. Did this one ask too many questions? “Whale ‘swallows’ sea lion: ‘It was a once-in-a-lifetime event'”.

Chase Dekker believes the photo he took of a humpback whale “swallowing” a sea lion is the first time that happening has ever been caught on camera.

The 27-year-old wildlife photographer and marine biologist had taken a boat of whale watchers out on the water in Monterey Bay, California, on 22 July when the incident happened.

“It wasn’t a huge group, only three humpback whales and about two hundred sea lions,” Chase tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“We’ve seen it all the way up to 100 whales with 3,000 sea lions, so it can get really insane.”

The animals were feeding on a school of anchovies at the water’s surface when the whale ended up with something a little larger in its mouth than it probably expected.

(13) FIRED FROM FIRE. BBC says a video game is recasting a part — “Fire Emblem: Nintendo cuts voice actor over emotional abuse”.

Nintendo is replacing a voice actor in new game Fire Emblem: Three Houses after he admitted emotionally abusing ex-partners and friends.

The role-playing game was only released last week, but an update is already planned to remove Chris Niosi.

He posted an apology and explanation on Tumblr a few days before the game was released.

“I have horribly mistreated and abused friends, colleagues and even my significant others,” he wrote.

(14) EMERGENCY HOLOGRAPHIC CAMEO. At San Diego Comic-Con, it was revealed that Jeri Ryan will reprise her role as Seven of Nine (ST: Voyager) in the new CBS All Access show ST: Picard. Now she may have some company. Trekkie Girls is spreading the word:“Voyager’s Robert Picardo in talks to appear in Star Trek: Picard”.

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.]

Bram Stoker Awards Co-Chairs Interviewed About HWA Guidelines for Promoting Works

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®….

The Guidelines are backed up by strong enforcement measures in the main Bram Stoker Awards rules.

HOW WELL DOES IT WORK? I wanted to learn more about the HWA rules after seeing a heated discussion follow Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America’s (SFWA) announcement of this year’s Nebula nominees — an exchange that began with “Annie Bellet Criticizes 20Booksto50K Slate and Members of the Group Respond” and largely ended with “Jonathan Brazee, SFWA Make Statements on Nebula Awards Issues”.

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 their insights.

2018 Bram Stoker Awards

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association announced the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® winners at StokerCon in Grand Rapids, MI on May 11.

HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Rust Maidens (Trepidatio Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • LaValle, Victor – Victor LaValle’s Destroyer (BOOM! Studios)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Mason, Rena – The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) (Adrenaline Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Landry, Jess – “Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Guignard, Eric J. – That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance Publications)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Datlow, Ellen – The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea (Night Shade Books)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Tantlinger, Sara – The Devil’s Dreamland (Strangehouse Books)

Other awards presented at tonight’s ceremony were:

The Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Graham Masterson (Accepted by John Little)

The Silver Hammer Award

  • Jess Landry

The Mentor of the Year Award

  • JG Faherty

The Richard Laymon President’s Award

  • Brad Hodson

The Specialty Press Award

  • Raw Dog Screaming Press—Jennifer Barnes & John Edward Lawson

Stoker Awards Ceremony Livestream Today

The Horror Writers Association presents the Bram Stoker Awards® live today at 8:00 p.m. EST. Join emcee Jonathan Maberry and guests who will present the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®, as well as the Specialty Press Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, Mentor of the Year, Richard Laymon Award, and the HWA Silver Hammer Award.

2018 Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot

Bram Stoker Award trophy

The Horror Writers Association announced the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Final Ballot on February 23. “This year’s nominees demonstrate a continued lineup of quality work in the horror genre,” said Lisa Morton, HWA President. “Our members and awards juries have again chosen truly outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”

The HWA is a nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.

The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards® will occur at StokerCon on May 11. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online via the website.

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • Katsu, Alma – The Hunger (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Maberry, Jonathan – Glimpse (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Malerman, Josh – Unbury Carol (Del Rey)
  • Stoker, Dacre and Barker, J.D. – Dracul (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
  • Tremblay, Paul – The Cabin at the End of the World (William Morrow)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • Fine, Julia – What Should Be Wild (Harper)
  • Grau, T.E. – I Am the River (Lethe Press)
  • Kiste, Gwendolyn – The Rust Maidens (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Stage, Zoje – Baby Teeth (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Tremblay, Tony – The Moore House (Twisted Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Ireland, Justina – Dread Nation (Balzer + Bray)
  • Legrand, Claire – Sawkill Girls (Katherine Tegen Books)
  • Maberry, Jonathan – Broken Lands (Simon & Schuster)
  • Snyman, Monique – The Night Weaver (Gigi Publishing)
  • White, Kiersten – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Delacorte Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Ahmed, Saladin – Abbott (BOOM! Studios)
  • Azzarello, Brian – Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train (Image Comics)
  • Bunn, Cullen – Bone Parish (BOOM! Studios)
  • LaValle, Victor – Victor LaValle’s Destroyer (BOOM! Studios)
  • Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 3: Haven (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Bailey, Michael – Our Children, Our Teachers (Written Backwards)
  • Hill, Joe – You Are Released (Flight or Fright: 17 Turbulent Tales) (Scribner)
  • Malik, Usman T. – Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung (Nightmare Magazine Issue #74)
  • Mason, Rena – The Devil’s Throat (Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror) (Adrenaline Press)
  • Smith, Angela Yuriko – Bitter Suites (CreateSpace)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • Landry, Jess – “Mutter” (Fantastic Tales of Terror) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Murray, Lee – “Dead End Town” (Cthulhu Deep Down Under Volume 2) (IFWG Publishing International)
  • Neugebauer, Annie – “Glove Box” (The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine Volume 3, Issue 4-July 2018)
  • Taff, John F.D. – “A Winter’s Tale” (Little Black Spots) (Grey Matter Press)
  • Ward, Kyla Lee – “And in Her Eyes the City Drowned” (Weirdbook #39) (Wildside Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Files, Gemma – Spectral Evidence (Trepidatio Publishing)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – That Which Grows Wild (Cemetery Dance Publications)
  • Iglesias, Gabino – Coyote Songs (Broken River Books)
  • Snyder, Lucy A. – Garden of Eldritch Delights (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Waggoner, Tim – Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection (Nightscape Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Aster, Ari – Hereditary (PalmStar Media)
  • Averill, Meredith – The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 (Amblin Television, FlanaganFilm, Paramount Television)
  • Garland, Alex – Annihilation (DNA Films, Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Skydance Media)
  • Heisserer, Eric – Bird Box (Bluegrass Films, Chris Morgan Productions, Universal Pictures)
  • Woods, Bryan, Beck, Scott, and Krasinski, John – A Quiet Place (Platinum Dunes, Sunday Night)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • Chambers, James, Grey, April, and Masterson, Robert – A New York State of Fright: Horror Stories from the Empire State (Hippocampus Press)
  • Datlow, Ellen – The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea (Night Shade Books)
  • Guignard, Eric J. – A World of Horror (Dark Moon Books)
  • Murray, Lee – Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror (Adrenaline Press)
  • Ward, D. Alexander – Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Connolly, John – Horror Express (PS Publishing)
  • Gambin, Lee – The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film (Centipede Press)
  • Ingham, Howard David – We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror (Room 207 Press)
  • Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Wetmore Jr., Kevin J. – Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series (McFarland)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Boston, Bruce – Artifacts (Independent Legions Publishing)
  • Cowen, David E. – Bleeding Saffron (Weasel Press)
  • Lynch, Donna – Witches (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
  • Simon, Marge and Manzetti, Alessandro – War (Crystal Lake Publishing)
  • Tantlinger, Sara – The Devil’s Dreamland (Strangehouse Books)

Pixel Scroll 1/21/19 I Don’ Wanna File, I Wanna Bang On The Pixel All Day

(1) A DOG STORY. The Verge has released the latest installment in its multimedia science fiction project about hope, Better Worlds. Don’t tell me – John Scalzi wrote a story about a Sad Puppy?

Today, we published one of the original short stories that we’re most excited about, “A Model Dog,” from prolific science fiction writer and Hugo Award-winner John Scalzi. Scalzi is a familiar name to most science fiction readers, best known for his novels Old Man’s War, Redshirts, The Collapsing Empire, and, most recently, The Consuming Fire.

In Scalzi’s hilarious new story story “A Model Dog” and the video adaptation from animator Joel Plosz, an eccentric tech billionaire’s frivolous project to “engineer a solution” to a dying dog takes a surprising and heartwarming turn.

There’s also a Q&A — “John Scalzi on machine learning and remembering our favorite pets”.

It does seem like this type of experimentation would have a downstream effect. I know Neil deGrasse Tyson is fond of saying that going to space brought with it a number of other things you wouldn’t expect.

Absolutely. It’s the whole Velcro effect. You go into space, so you had to invent Velcro. It’s weird when you think about it. I’m not necessarily a proponent of the idea that you do a big thing because you get a few small, ancillary things out of it because it’s not guaranteed that you’ll get anything out of it. But it’s certainly not wrong. Anything you do is going to have failures and spinoffs and dead ends. But those failures, spinoffs, and dead ends aren’t necessarily things that are going to be bad or useless. It might be an unexpected thing. You do see this. A guy wanting to make a more powerful adhesive ended up creating the sticky note at 3M. Even if something doesn’t work the way you expect it to, you still get something beneficial out of it. And, to some extent, that’s what this story also nets: they aimed for one thing, and they ended up getting another.

(2) NUSSBAUM STATUS REPORT. Winner of the 2017 Best Fan Writer Hugo, Abigail Nussbaum, took herself out of contention in 2018. I asked what her plans were for 2019. She replied —  

I really hadn’t thought about the issue this year.  I suppose my feeling is that one year of telling people what to do with their vote is enough.  I’m not officially taking myself out of the running, but I don’t expect to be nominated again.  If it does come up, I’ll decide what to do then.

(3) AMERICAN GODS. The epic war of the gods begins when American Gods premieres March 10 on STARZ.

(4) ROSWELL AWARD. The submission deadline for The Roswell Award sci-fi writing competition is Monday, January 28.

The UCLA Extension Writer’s Program is sponsoring a free 10-week or shorter online class for the 1st Place winner with the option of three (3) UCLA credits.

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place Roswell Award prizes!

Special prizes awarded for the Women Hold Up Half the Sky Award feminist sci-fi story and the Best Translated Sci-Fi Story Award.

Full details and guidelines here.

(5) FREE READ. A story by Kary English made the Bram Stoker Awards preliminary ballot and she’s made it available as a free read in a Facebook public post — “Cold, Silent, and Dark” from Undercurrents: An Anthology of What Lies Beneath.

Here’s the story in its entirety. Please enjoy it while I have a sip of port and a bite of chocolate to celebrate. The chocolate, like the story, is deliciously dark.

(6) HALL OF FAME CALLS TROY L. WIGGINS. The Darrell Awards jury has chosen the next inductee to the Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame:

It gives us great pleasure to announce that the winner is TROY L. WIGGINS, who was chosen for his outstanding contributions to Midsouth literacy, both as a writer of SF/F/H short stories and for his role in founding Fiyah Lit Mag, a relatively-new SF/F/H magazine (now in its third year).

Mr. Wiggins joins 16 previous inductees, including Nancy Collins, Eric Flint, Justin Cronin, Howard Waldrop, and a dozen more worthies.

There’s more information on the Coger Memorial Hall of Fame here.

(7) THE BEST POLICY. Virgin Money wants people to pay attention to their life insurance offerings so they’ve increased the scope of their coverage. ScienceFiction.com has the story — “Insurance Company Will Cover Wacky Deaths, Including Death By Dalek”.

Here is the entire list of what Virgin Money will cover:

  1. Engulfed by a sharknado
  2. Attacked by a 100 ft tall Stay Puft marshmallow man
  3. Dalek invasion
  4. Attack by a world terraforming engine (ie: Superman)
  5. Injury caused being pursued by a Giant from a cloud-based castle
  6. Getting trampled by Godzilla
  7. Attack by Decepticon (ie: Transformers)
  8. Attack by heat ray from Martian tripods
  9. Attack by the Loch Ness monster
  10. Being given the cruciatus curse by Lord Voldemort

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

January 21, 1972 — NYC hosted the first Star Trek Convention.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 21, 1923 Judith Merril. Author of four novels, Shadow on the HearthGunner CadeOutpost Mars and The Tomorrow People of which the last three were with C. M. Kornbluth. She also wrote twenty six stories which can be found in The Best of Judith Merril. She was an editor as well of both anthologies and magazines. Her magazine editorship was as Judy Zissman and was Science*Fiction in 1946 and Temper! In 1945 and 1947. May I comment that ISFDB notes Temper! has a header of The Magazine of Social Protest which given its date may make it the earliest SJW citation known in our genre? Oh and between, 1965 and 1969, she was an exemplary reviewer for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She was also a much lauded Books Editor there at the same time. Yes, I know she had a complicated personal life but that’s not for here. (Died 1997.)
  • Born January 21, 1924  — Dean Fredericks. Actor best known for his portrayal of the comic strip character Steve Canyon in the television series of the same name which aired from 1958–1959 on NBC. His first genre role is in Them! followed by appearances in The Disembodied and the lead in The Phantom Planet. (Died 1999.)
  • Born January 21, 1956 Diana Pavlac Glyer, 63. Academic whose work centers on C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Inklings. She has a number of published works to date with two of interest to us, Bandersnatch: C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings and The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community.  The third in case you’re wondering is Clay in the Potter’s Hands.
  • Born January 21, 1956 Geena Davis, 63. Her first genre was as Veronica “Ronnie” Quaife In The Fly  followed by her by widely remembered roles as Barbara Maitland in Beetlejuice and Valerie Gail In Earth Girls Are Easy. She next plays Morgan Adams in the theatrical bomb Cutthroat Island before getting the choice plum of Mrs. Eleanor Little in the Stuart Little franchise.  She has a lead role in Marjorie Prime, a film tackling memory loss in Alzheimer’s victims some fifty years by creating holographic projections of deceased family members that sounds really creepy. Her major series role to date is as Regan MacNeil on The Exorcist, a ten episode FOX sequel to the film. 
  • Born January 21, 1958 Michael Wincott, 61. Guy of Gisbourne In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was his first genre role. Oh well. He did much better playing the truly evil Top Dollar in The Crow next, and his Comte de Rochefort in the 1993 The Three Musketeers wasn’t that bad. He played Philo Grant in Strange Days, and was Captain Frank Elgyn In Alien Resurrection. His latest film role was as Dr. Osmond In Ghost in the Shell. He shows up as the Old Bill character in the “The Original” and “Contrapasso” episodes of Westworld
  • Born January 21, 1970 Ken Leung, 49. Best known for playing Miles Straume in Lost, Admiral Statura in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Kid Omega in X-Men: The Last Stand. His latest role is as  Karnak, a member of the Inhumans on the series Inhumans. His first genre appearance was I think was as Syatyoo-Sama in A.I. and he later has a recurring role on Person of Interest, a show where AIs play a prominent role.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • The problems of Harry Potter, the Boy Who Graduated: Rhymes With Orange.
  • For Over the Hedge’s RJ, there’s just too much good stuff on TV.
  • Lucas could have made a fortune with custom editions if he’d followed the advice implicit in this classic FoxTrot.

(11) REACTIONARY COMPS. Laura B. McGrath, in “Comping White” at LA Review of Books, makes the case that a publishing industry technique for projecting a book’s success, comp titles, is biased against people of color, and further, tends to neutralize the effect of having more people of color working behind the scenes.

…Instead, I decided to study the most important data that no one outside of publishing has ever heard of: Comp Titles. “Comps are king in this business,” an editor told me. (She works for a major house, and spoke under the condition of anonymity.) Comps, short for “comparable” or “comparative” titles, are the basis of all acquisitions. By predicting profits and losses, comps help editors determine if they should acquire a book or not. Comps are a sort of gatekeeper, determining what — and who — gets access to the marketplace.

The logic is straightforward: Book A (a new title) is similar to Book B (an already published title). Because Book B sold so many copies and made so much money, we can assume that Book A will also sell so many copies and make so much money. Based on these projections, editors determine if they should pre-empt, bid, or pass on a title, and how much they should pay in an author advance. Above all, comps are conservative. They manage expectations, and are designed to predict as safe a bet as possible. They are built on the idea that if it worked before, it will work again…

And if there’s no comp to be found? If a book hasn’t ever “worked” because it hasn’t ever happened? If the target audience for a book isn’t considered big or significant enough to warrant the investment? “If you can’t find any comps,” one editor explained, grimacing, “It’s not a good sign.” While intended to be an instructive description (“this book is like that book”), some editors suggested that comps have become prescriptive (“this book should be like that book”) and restrictive (“…or we can’t publish it”). 

(12) DISCO VOLANTE. Motherboard thinks “Mysterious ‘Planet Nine’ Might Actually Be a Gigantic Disk of Space Objects”.

The mysterious “Planet Nine,” which is theorized to be 10 times larger than Earth and lies somewhere in the outer reaches of our solar system, might not be a planet at all, says a new study.

It may really be a gigantic disk made up of smaller objects lying just beyond Neptune exerting the same gravitational force as a super-Earth-sized planet, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge and the American University of Beirut.

(13) IN A HOLE IN THE GROUND THERE LIVED A MARTIAN COLONIST. Dwayne Day reviews season 2 of National Geographic’s Mars in “Mars: Bringer of ennui (Part 1)” at The Space Review.

The first season, consisting of six episodes, featured some excellent and insightful documentary segments and commentary, but the drama segments, which were closely tied to the documentary stories, were grim and depressing. Now, two years later, season two has aired. Unfortunately, that same dynamic was repeated: often stunning documentary segments and intelligent commentary interspersed with tedious and uninspiring drama. If National Geographic has a message about the human exploration of Mars, it is that nobody will have any fun.

(14) UNEXPECTED HOMECOMING. A piece of history will go on display: “Black Arrow: UK space rocket returns home from Australia”.

The UK’s only rocket to successfully launch a satellite into orbit is to be unveiled in Scotland after a 10,000-mile journey back home.

The Black Arrow projectile had lain at its crash landing site in the South Australian outback for 48 years.

Over time it was damaged by extreme weather and vandalism before space technology firm Skyrora stepped in.

The historic rocket is set to go on display in Penicuik, Midlothian, later this month.

Daniel Smith, director at Skyrora, said: “This is quite feasibly the most important artefact linked to the UK’s space history.

“While our engineers have been working on our own launches, our STEM ambassadors have been arranging all of this in the background.”

(15) SHOWBOATING. “He Jiankui: China condemns ‘baby gene editing’ scientist”.

China says the scientist who claims to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies last year acted illegally and in pursuit of fame and fortune, state media report.

He Jiankui’s claim to have altered twin girls’ genes so they could not get HIV was met with scepticism and outrage.

Investigators say the researcher faces serious punishment after acting on his own and forging ethical review papers.

Professor He, who is reportedly under house arrest, has defended his work.

In November, he told a genome summit in Hong Kong he was “proud” of his gene-editing work, a practice which is banned in most countries, including China.

His announcement was met with condemnation from hundreds of Chinese and international scientists, who said any application of gene editing on human embryos for reproductive purposes was unethical

(16) ANOTHER PIECE OF HISTORY. “How migration formed the English language”

The interconnectedness of Europe has a long history, as we’re reminded when we explore the roots of the English language – roots that stretch back to the 5th Century. Anglo-Saxon England “was connected to the world beyond its shores through a lively exchange of books, goods, ideas,” argues the Medieval historian Mary Wellesley, describing a new exhibition at the British Library in London – Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War – that charts the genesis of England.

“Something like 80% of all surviving Old English verse survives in four physical books… for the first time in recorded history they are all together,” she tells BBC Culture. “The period that is represented by Old English is about 600 years, which is like between us and back to Chaucer… imagine if there were only four physical books that survived from that period, what would that say about our literature?”

(17) CRETACEOUS PERAMBULATOR. (Well before that era, actually, but I couldn’t resist the Barfield reference.) A recent issue of Nature tells how “SF/F cinematic and scientific techniques combine to show how a long-extinct creature moved”.

The trolls and orcs in The Lord of the Rings films aren’t real. The dragons and dire wolves on the hit television show Game of Thrones are simulated. The dinosaurs that rampaged through a string of Jurassic Park films don’t exist outside a computer. Or do they?

These days, it can be hard to tell from the screen, given that computer-generated characters in films and video games now seem so realistic down to every tooth and claw. The realism comes from the long and fruitful interaction between science and the cinema that can be traced back to the pioneering work more than a century ago of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge (the eccentric spelling of his first name was a deliberate homage to Anglo-Saxon style).

The blending of cinematic and scientific techniques continues today. In a paper in this week’s Nature, researchers describe how they used animation techniques to reconstruct the motion of a long-extinct animal….

(18) LOOKING FOR A LAIR. A new trailer for SHAZAM! — in theaters April 5.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, Andrew Liptak, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

Pixel Scroll 1/20/19 Pix-El: The Man of Scroll

(1) TOLKIEN RESEARCH SURVEY. Robin Anne Reid of the Department of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce is continuing to collect surveys for the project mentioned in the January 11 Scroll (item 2) – “I have 42 but more would be nice.”

The link leads to Reid’s academic Dreamwidth page for the informed consent information. The link from there goes to SurveyMonkey. Reid’s cover letter says: 

Hello: I am a professor of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMUC) who is doing a research project. The project asks how readers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium who are at least eighteen years old and who are atheists, agnostics, animists, or part of New Age movements interpret his work in the context of the common assumption that Tolkien’s Catholic beliefs must play a part in what readers see as the meaning of his fiction.

I have created a short survey which consists of ten open-ended questions about your religious and/or spiritual background, your experiences of Tolkien’s work, and your ideas about the relationship between religious beliefs and interpreting his work. It would take anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours to complete the survey, depending on how much you write in response to the questions.  The survey is uploaded to my personal account at Survey Monkey: only I will have access to the responses. My research proposal has been reviewed by the TAMUC Institutional Review Board.

If you are eighteen years or older, and are an atheist, agnostic, animist, or part of a New Age movement that emphasizes spirituality but not a creator figure, you are invited to go to my academic blog to see more information about the survey. The survey will be open from December 1, 2018-January 31, 2019, closing at 11:30 PM GMT-0500 Central Daylight Time.

Complete information about the project and how your anonymity and privacy will be protected can be found at by clicking on the link:

https://robin-anne-reid.dreamwidth.org/50424.html

(2) RETRO READING. The Hugo Award Book Club‘s Olav Rokne recalls: “The Retro-Hugo for Best Graphic Story was overlooked by enough nominators that it failed to be awarded last year. That’s a real shame, because I can tell you that there was a lot of work that’s worth celebrating. It’s actually quite sad that it was forgotten last year, and I’m sincerely hoping that people don’t neglect the category this year.” That’s the reason for his recommended reading post  “Retro Hugo – Best Graphic Story 1944”.  

(3) A FEMINIST SFF ROUNDUP. Cheryl Morgan gives an overview of 2018 in “A Year In Feminist Speculative Fiction” at the British Science Fiction Association’s Vector blog. Morgan’s first recommendation —

Top of the list for anyone’s feminist reading from 2018 must be Maria Dahvana Headley’s amazing re-telling of Beowulf, The Mere Wife. Set in contemporary America, with a gated community taking the place of Heorot Hall, and a policeman called Ben Wolfe in the title role, it uses the poem’s story to tackle a variety of issues. Chief among them is one of translation. Why is it that Beowulf is always described as a hero, whereas Grendel’s Mother is a hag or a wretch? In the original Anglo-Saxon, the same word is used to describe both of them. And why do white women vote for Trump? The book tackles both of those questions, and more. I expect to see it scooping awards.

(4) HONEY, YOU GOT TO GET THE SCIENCE RIGHT. Where have I heard that before? Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is netting all kinds of awards, but writing for CNN, physicist Don Lincoln opines that, “‘Spider-verse’ gets the science right — and wrong.” Of course, this is an animated movie and maybe Don is a bit of a grump.

CNN—(Warning: Contains mild spoilers) 

As a scientist who has written about colliding black holes and alien space probes, I was already convinced I was pretty cool. But it wasn’t until I sat down to watch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” that I understood the extent of my own coolness. There on the screen was fictional scientific equipment that was clearly inspired by the actual apparatus that my colleagues and I use to try to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Amid the action, the coming-of-age story, a little romance and a few twists and turns, the movie shows a fictional gadget located in New York City called a collider, which connects parallel universes and brings many different versions of Spider-Man into a single universe.

(5) SFF TV EDITOR. CreativeCOW.net features a rising star in “Editing SYFY”.

When talking about her career path, you get the immediate sense that rejection isn’t a “no” for Shiran Amir. There’s never been an obstacle that’s kept her from living her dream. Shattering ceiling after glass ceiling, she makes her rise up through the ranks look like a piece of cake. However, her story is equal parts strategy and risk – and none of it was easy.

After taking countless chances in her career, of which some aspiring editors don’t see the other side, she has continually pushed herself to move onward and upward. She’s been an assistant editor on Fear the Walking Dead, The OA, and Outcast to name a few, before becoming a full-fledged editor of Z Nation for SyFy, editing the 4th and 9th episodes of the zombie apocalypse show’s final season, with its final episode airing December 28, 2018. She’s currently on the Editors Guild Board of Directors and is involved in the post-production community in Los Angeles.

And she’s only 30 years old.

(6) ARISIA. Bjo Trimble poses with fans in Star Trek uniforms.

The con also overcame horrible weather and other challenges:

And here’s a further example of the Arisia’s antiharassment measures:

(7) EXTRA CREDITS. The Extra Credits Sci Fi series on YouTube began Season 3 with “Tolkien and Herbert – The World Builder”

Mythic worldbuilding and intentionality just weren’t staples of science fiction until the works of J. R. R. Tolkien and Frank Herbert were published. We’ll be doing an analysis of The Lord of the Rings and Dune, respectively–works that still stand out today because they are meticulously crafted.

Here are links to playlists for the first two seasons:

  • The first season covered the origins of SF up to John Campbell.
  • The second season covered the Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke era up to the start of the New Wave.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 20, 1884 A. Merritt. Early pulp writer whose career consisted of eight complete novels and a number of short stories. Gutenberg has all of all his novels and most of his stories available online.  H. P. Lovecraft notes in a letter that he was a major influence upon his writings, and a number of authors including Michael Moorcock and Robert Bloch list him as being among their favorite authors. 
  • Born January 20, 1920 DeForest Kelley. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy on the original Trek and a number of films that followed plus the animated series. Other genre appearances include voicing voicing Viking 1 in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (his last acting work) and a 1955 episode of Science Fiction Theatre entitled “Y..O..R..D..” being his only ones as he didn’t do SF Really preferring Westerners. (Died 1999.)
  • Born January 20, 1926 Patricia Neal. Best known to genre buffs for her film role as World War II widow Helen Benson in The Day the Earth Stood Still. She also appeared in Stranger from Venus, your usual British made flying saucer film. She shows up in the Eighties in Ghost Story based off a Peter Straub novel, and she did an episode of The Ghost Story series which was later retitled Circle Of Fear in hopes of getting better ratings (it didn’t, it was cancelled).  If Kung Fu counts as genre, she did an appearance there. (Died 2010)
  • Born January 20, 1934 Tom Baker, 85. The Fourth Doctor and my introduction to Doctor Who. My favorite story? The Talons of Weng Chiang with of course the delicious added delight of his companion Leela played by Lousie Jameson. Even the worse of the stories, and there were truly shitty stories, were redeemed by him and his jelly babies. He did have a turn before being the Fourth Doctor as Sherlock Holmes In The Hound of the Baskervilles, and though not genre, he turns up as Rasputin early in his career in Nicholas and Alexandra! Being a working actor, he shows up in a number of low budget films early on such as The Vault of HorrorThe Golden Voyage of SinbadThe MutationsThe Curse of King Tut’s Tomb and The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood. And weirdly enough, he’s Halvarth the Elf in a Czech made  Dungeons & Dragons film which has a score of 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. 
  • Born January 20, 1946 David Lynch, 73. Director of possibly the worst SF film ever made from a really great novel in the form of Dune. Went on to make Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me which is possibly one of the weirdest films ever made. (Well with Blue Velvet being a horror film also vying for top honors as well.) Oh and I know that I didn’t mention Eraserhead. You can talk about that film.
  • Born January 20, 1948Nancy Kress, 71. Best known for her Hugo and Nebula Award winning Beggars in Spain and its sequels. Her latest novel is If Tomorrow Comes: Book 2 in the Yesterday’s Kin trilogy.
  • Born January 20, 1958 Kij Johnson, 61. Writer and associate director of The Center for the Study of Science Fiction the University of Kansas English Department which is I must say a cool genre thing indeed. She’s also worked for Tor, TSR and Dark Horse. Wow. Where was I? Oh about to mention her writings… if you not read her Japanese mythology based The Fox Woman, do so now as it’s superb. The sequel, Fudoki, is just as interesting. The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe is a novella taking a classic Lovecraftian tale and giving a nice twist. Finally I’ll recommend her short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories
  • Born January 20, 1964 Francesca Buller, 55. Performer and wife of Ben Browder, yes that’s relevant as she’s been four different characters on Farscape, to wit she played the characters of Minister Ahkna, Raxil, ro-NA and M’Lee. Minister Ahkn is likely the one you remember her as being. Farscape is her entire genre acting career.  

(9) IS BRAM STOKER SPINNING? It’s all about Scott Edelman:

(10) MAGICON. Fanac.org has added another historic video to its YouTube channel: “MagiCon (1992) Worldcon – Rusty Hevelin interviews Frank Robinson.”

MagiCon, the 50th Worldcon, was held in Orlando, Florida in 1992. In this video, Rusty Hevelin interviews fan, editor and author Frank Robinson on his career, both fannish and professional and on the early days of science fiction. Frank talks about the war years, the fanzines he published, the Ray Palmer era in magazines, his time at Rogue Magazine and lots more. Highlights include: working with Ray Palmer, discussion on the line between fan and pro writing, the story of George Pal’s production of ‘The Power’ from Frank’s story of that name, and Frank’s views on the impact of science fiction and of fantasy. Frank Robinson was a true devotee of the field – “Science fiction can change the world.”

(11) MUONS VS. MEGS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.]Those cheering for the stupid-large shark in last year’s The Meg, may now know what to blame for the lack of megalodons in the current age. A story in Quanta Magazine (“How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals”) explains a preprint paper (“Hypothesis: Muon Radiation Dose and Marine Megafaunal Extinction at the End-Pliocene Supernova”). Using iron-60 as a tracer, supernovae have been tracked to a time of mass extinction at the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary 2.6 million years ago. The paper’s authors make the leap from that to a hypothesis that a huge spike in muons that would have occurred when supernova radiation slammed into Earth’s atmosphere could have contributed to that extinction.

Even though Earth is floating in the void, it does not exist in a vacuum. The planet is constantly bombarded by stuff from space, including a daily deluge of micrometeorites and a shower of radiation from the sun and more-distant stars. Sometimes, things from space can maim or kill us, like the gargantuan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. More often, stellar smithereens make their way to Earth and the moon and then peacefully settle, remaining for eternity, or at least until scientists dig them up.

[…] But the search for cosmic debris on Earth has a long history. Other researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible to find fossil evidence of astrophysical particles in Earth’s crust. Some researchers are pondering how these cosmic events affect Earth — even whether they have altered the course of evolution. A new study suggests that energetic particles from an exploding star may have contributed to the extinction of a number of megafauna, including the prehistoric monster shark megalodon, which went extinct at around the same time.

“It’s an interesting coincidence,” said Adrian Melott, an astrophysicist at the University of Kansas and the author of a new paper.

(12) STEPPING UP. “Girl Scouts of America offers badge in cybersecurity” – a BBC video report.

Girl Scouts of America is now offering girls as young as five a badge in cybersecurity.

It’s part of a drive to get more girls involved in science, technology engineering and mathematics from a young age.

An event in Silicon Valley gave scouts an opportunity to earn the first patch in the activity, with the help of some eggs.

(13) A LITTLE GETAWAY. The BBC asks “Is this the least romantic weekend ever?”

The road runs straight and black into the gloom of the snowy birch forest. It is -5C (23F), the sky is slate-grey and we’re in a steamy minibus full of strangers. Not very romantic you’re thinking, and I haven’t yet told you where we’re going.

My wife, Bee, had suggested a cheeky New Year break. Just the two of us, no kids. “Surprise me,” she’d said.

Then I met a bloke at a friend’s 50th. He told me how much he and his girlfriend had enjoyed a trip to Chernobyl – that’s right, the nuclear power station that blew up in the 1980s, causing the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history.

“Don’t worry,” my new friend declared, a large glass of wine in his hand. “It’s safe now.”

Well, she’d said she’d like something memorable…

(14) HARRIMAN REDUX. BBC considers the question — “Chang’e-4: Can anyone ‘own’ the Moon?”

Companies are looking at mining the surface of the Moon for precious materials. So what rules are there on humans exploiting and claiming ownership?

It’s almost 50 years since Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. “That’s one small step for a man,” the US astronaut famously said, “one giant leap for mankind.”

Shortly afterwards, his colleague Buzz Aldrin joined him in bounding across the Sea of Tranquility. After descending from the steps of the Eagle lunar module, he gazed at the empty landscape and said: “Magnificent desolation.”

Since the Apollo 11 mission of July 1969, the Moon has remained largely untouched – no human has been there since 1972. But this could change soon, with several companies expressing an interest in exploring and, possibly, mining its surface for resources including gold, platinum and the rare earth minerals widely used in electronics.

(15) UNIDENTIFIED FEDERAL OUTLAYS. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Piggybacking on a Washington Post article (paywalled here) and a Vice article (freely available here), SYFY Wire says, “The government’s secret UFO program has just been revealed, and it’s something out of a sci-fi movie.”

We didn’t know much about the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program until now, but apparently, the Department of Defense has been focusing its efforts far beyond potential threats on Earth.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has finally let the public in on at least some of what it’s been up to by recently releasing a list of 38 research titles that range from the weird to the downright bizarre. It would have never revealed these titles—on topics like invisibility cloaking, wormholes and extradimensional manipulation—if it wasn’t for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request put in by the director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Society, Steven Aftergood.

(16) STANDING TALL. BBC traces “How Japan’s skyscrapers are built to survive earthquakes” in a photo gallery with some interesting tech info. “Japan is home to some of the most resilient buildings in the world – and their secret lies in their capacity to dance as the ground moves beneath them.”

The bar is set by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. This was a large earthquake – of magnitude 7.9 – that devastated Tokyo and Yokohama, and killed more than 140,000 people.

For earthquakes of a greater magnitude than this benchmark, preserving buildings perfectly is no longer the goal. Any damage that does not cause a human casualty is acceptable.

“You design buildings to protect people’s lives,” says Ziggy Lubkowski, a seismic specialist at University College London. “That’s the minimum requirement.”

(17) ORDER IN THE TINY BRICK COURT. SYFY Wire reports “Ruth Bader Ginsburg will uphold the Constitution in Lego Movie 2: The Second Part cameo”.

If nothing else, the upcoming sequel to The Lego Movie will adhere strictly to the legal confines of the U.S. Constitution.

That’s because 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will have a cameo as a black-robed, law-defining minifigure in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, according to the film’s director, Mike Mitchell.

“These movies are so full of surprises. And we were thinking, ‘Who’s the last person you would think to see in a Lego film as a minifig?’ Ruth Bader Ginsburg!” Mitchell told USA Today. “And we’re all huge fans. It made us laugh to think of having her enter this world.”

[Thanks to Greg Hullender, Cat Eldridge, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, 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 Kip Williams.]

2018 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has released the Preliminary Ballot for the 2018 Bram Stoker Awards®.

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 final ballot will be revealed next month. The Bram Stoker Award winners will be announced in April at StokerCon 2019 in Grand Rapids, MI.

2018 Bram Stoker Awards® Preliminary Ballot

Superior Achievement in a Novel

  • The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
  • Dark Mary – Paolo Di Orazio
  • The Hunger – Alma Katsu
  • The Outsider – Stephen King
  • Glimpse – Jonathan Maberry
  • Unbury Carol – Josh Malerman
  • Naraka – Alessandro Manzetti
  • Hazards of Time Travel – Joyce Carol Oates
  • Foe – Iain Reid 
  • Frankenstein in Baghdad: A Novel  – Ahmed Saadawi
  • Dracul  – Dacre Stoker and J.D. Barker
  • The Cabin at the End of the World  – Paul Tremblay

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

  • The Garden of Blue Roses – Michael Barsa
  • What Should Be Wild – Julia Fine
  • Breaking the World – Jerry Gordon
  • I Am the River – T.E. Grau
  • The Rust Maidens – Gwendolyn Kiste
  • Fiction – Ryan Lieske
  • The Honey Farm – Harriet Alida Lye 
  • The War in the Dark – Nick Setchfield 
  • The Nightmare Room – Chris Sorensen
  • Baby Teeth – Zoje Stage
  • The Moore House – Tony Tremblay

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel

  • Pitch Dark – Courtney Alameda
  • The Wicked Deep – Shea Ernshaw 
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower – Christian McKay Heidicker 
  • Dread Nation – Justina Ireland
  • Wormholes: Book One of Axles and Allies – Dani Kane
  • Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand 
  • Broken Lands – Jonathan Maberry
  • The Night Weaver – Monique Snyman
  • The Wren Hunt – Mary Watson
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel

  • Abbott – Saladin Ahmed 
  • Cursed Comics Cavalcade – Alex Antone and Dave James Wielgosz
  • Moonshine Vol. 2: Misery Train – Brian Azzarello
  • Redlands Volume 1: Sisters by Blood – Jordie Bellaire
  • Bone Parish – Cullen Bunn
  • Denver Moon: Metamorphosis – Warren Hammond and Joshua Viola
  • Destroyer – Victor LaValle 
  • Gideon Falls Volume 1: The Black Barn – Jeff Lemire
  • Monstress Volume 3: Haven – Marjorie Liu
  • Infidel – Pornsak Pichetshote 

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

  • Our Children, Our Teachers – Michael Bailey
  • The Barrens – Stephanie Feldman
  • Shiloh – Philip Fracassi
  • You Are Released – Joe Hill
  • Cruce Roosters  – Brent Michael Kelley
  • Black’s Red Gold – Ed Kurtz
  • Dead Lovers on Each Blade, Hung – Usman T. Malik
  • The Devil’s Throat  – Rena Mason
  • Body of Christ – Mark Matthews
  • Bitter Suites – Angela Yuriko Smith
  • Shape Shifting Priestess of the 1,000 Year War  – Todd Sullivan

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

  • “All Summers End” – Tom Deady
  • “Life After Breath” – Tori Eldridge
  • “Cold, Silent, and Dark” – Kary English
  • “The Gods in Their Seats, Unblinking” – Kurt Fawver
  • “The Woman in the Blue Dress” – Heather Herrman
  • “Mutter” – Jess Landry
  • “Dead End Town” – Lee Murray
  • “Glove Box” – Annie Neugebauer
  • “Fish Hooks” – Kit Power
  • “Her Royal Counsel” – Andrew Robertson
  • “A Winter’s Tale” – John F.D. Taff
  • “And in Her Eyes the City Drowned” – Kyla Lee Ward

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection

  • Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked  – Christa Carmen
  • Spectral Evidence – Gemma Files
  • That Which Grows Wild  – Eric J. Guignard
  • Coyote Songs  – Gabino Iglesias
  • Octoberland  – Thana Niveau
  • Frozen Shadows: And Other Chilling Stories – Gene O’Neill
  • Apple and Knife – Intan Paramaditha
  • Occasional Beasts: Tales – John Claude Smith
  • Garden of Eldritch Delights  – Lucy A. Snyder
  • Little Black Spots – John F.D. Taff
  • Dark and Distant Voices: A Story Collection – Tim Waggoner

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay

  • Hereditary – Ari Aster
  • The Haunting of Hill House: The Bent-Neck Lady, Episode 01:05 – Meredith Averill
  • The Haunting of Hill House: Screaming Meemies, Episode 01:09 – Meredith Averill
  • Mandy – Panos Cosmatos and Aaron Stewart-Ahn 
  • Ghost Stories – Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman
  • Halloween – Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green
  • Annihilation – Alex Garland
  • Bird Box – Eric Heisserer 
  • Overlord – Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith
  • A Quiet Place – Bryan Woods, Scott Beck and John Krasinski

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

  • A New York State of Fright: Horror Stories from the Empire State – James Chambers, James, April Grey and Robert Masterson 
  • The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea – Ellen Datlow
  • Suspended in Dusk II – Simon Dewar
  • A World of Horror – Eric J. Guignard
  • Welcome to the Show – Doug Murano
  • Hellhole: An Anthology of Subterranean Terror – Lee Murray
  • The Fiends in the Furrows: An Anthology of Folk Horror – David T. Neal and Christine M. Scott
  • Phantoms: Haunting Tales from Masters of the Genre – Marie O’Regan
  • Lost Highways: Dark Fictions from the Road – Alexander D. Ward
  • Quoth the Raven – Lyn Worthen

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction

  • Horror Express – John Connolly
  • Adapting Frankenstein: The Monster’s Eternal Lives in Popular Culture – Dennis Cutchins and Dennis R. Perry
  • The Howling: Studies in the Horror Film  – Lee Gambin
  • Woman at the Devil’s Door: The Untold True Story of the Hampstead Murderess  – Sarah Beth Hopton
  • We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror – Howard David Ingham
  • Sleeping with the Lights On: The Unsettling Story of Horror – Darryl Jones
  • It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life – Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson
  • A Place of Darkness: The Rhetoric of Horror in Early American Cinema – Kendall R. Phillips
  • Wasteland: The Great Ward and the Origins of Modern Horror – W. Scott Poole
  • Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series – Kevin J. Wetmore Jr.

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

  • Artifacts – Bruce Boston
  • The Comfort of Screams – G.O. Clark 
  • Bleeding Saffron – David E. Cowen 
  • The Hatch – Joe Fletcher
  • Witches – Donna Lynch
  • Thirteen Nocturnes – Oliver Shepard
  • War – Marge Simon and Alessandro Manzetti  
  • The Devil’s Dreamland – Sara Tantlinger  
  • Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions – Jacqueline West
  • Gwendolyn Witch and Other Macabria – Twyla Wren