(1) A LITTLE LIST. James Davis Nicoll returns with “Twenty Core Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Speculative Fiction Works Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves”.
As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Post-Apocalyptic Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field.
There are two filtering rules:
Only one work per author per list
Any given work can appear on only one list
(2) YOU’RE FROM THE SIXTIES! Sign up for video conference call from 1962 hosted by The Traveler from Galactic Journey.
Hello, friends and fellow travelers!
As some of you are aware, Galactic Journey is a frequent presenter at conventions around the country. In a mix of seminar and road show, the Journey brings the past to life with a personal appearance.
Well, this month, we’re going to take that to the next level — using Visi-phone technology developed for the 1962 Seattle World Fair, the Journey will be appearing live Coast to Coast (and beyond) at 11 a.m. [PDT] on June 17.
Tune in, and you’ll get a peek behind the scenes at the Journey, meeting the Traveler, himself, and potentially the Young Traveler and the Editor! We’ll show off some of our favorite vintage toys, answer your questions — and there will be prizes for the best ones!
RSVP for this no-charge event — The Traveler personally guarantees it’ll be worth every penny you spend!
(3) WORLDBUILDERS AND WORLDRUNNERS. Political lessons with John Scalzi, Charlie Jane Anders, Cory Doctorow, and Annalee Newitz at Inverse — “Here’s Why Sci-Fi Authors Will Always Tell You To Fuck Off”.
“People will visit my website or Twitter feed where apparently I have political opinions,” said Scalzi. “Then I get the sorrowful email that says, ‘I thought I was coming to you for entertainment, but you’re telling me how to think and regretfully I must not read your books anymore.’ They’re expecting me to say something like, ‘No, don’t leave.’ They’re not expecting the email I actually send, which is ‘Dear whomever: kiss my ass.”
(4) IF IGNORANCE IS BLISS. Discussions about cultural appropriation are not typically about the Irish, but they could be. Fantasy-Faction Brian O’Sullivan discusses “Wading in the Cultural Shallows: How Irish Mythology Became A Commodity for Fantasy”.
One night at a party I was introduced to a woman who proudly informed told me she’d named her baby daughter ‘Banshee’ in celebration of her Irish heritage. Even at the time I was pretty stunned by the announcement. For an Irish person (and I would have thought most people would have known this), this was the equivalent to naming her daughter — Death.
About two weeks later, at another party (I had a life back then!), I was cornered by a different woman demanding a translation for the chorus from Clannad’s haunting Theme Song from Harry’s Game. The Irish lyrics for the chorus had been written on her CD sleeve as ‘Fol dol de doh fol-de de day’!) which she thought was absolutely beautiful and must mean something mythically profound.’ Needless to say, she wasn’t particularly impressed when I translated it as ‘La, la la la, la la laaah!’
These are just two examples of the cultural disconnect between Irish people and those who dabble in Irish mythology. They are however only two of the hundreds I’ve personally experienced over the last twenty years or so and I know many other Irish people who’ve had similar experiences. It’s actually a source of continual bemusement to to see how bizarrely and inaccurately our culture’s been represented over that time.
…I don’t believe for a moment that it’s any author’s intention to be offensive when they use mythologies that aren’t their own. In fact, I’d suspect the vast majority of them would be dismayed if they knew their work was somehow considered offensive. Unfortunately, authors write stories based on their own experiences or what they’ve managed to learn and, frankly, sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. Different cultures aren’t easily transferable (although if you spend enough time living in them or studying them intensely you can certainly pick up a lot) and this makes wading in the mythological shallows that much more dangerous. This is particularly the case with Irish mythology as there’s so much misinformation already out there (many people, for example, through no fault of their own, still believe W. B. Yeats is a credible authority on Irish mythology!).
(5) WEIMER IN THE WILD. If this is what DUFF delegates get to do, everyone will be running next time. (Having lunch with Ian Mond and Likhain.)
Of course, some things you can do without traveling 12,000 miles:
(6) HERITAGE SPACE AUCTION RESULTS. Heritage Auctions released some sales figures from Space Exploration Auction #6173,which had total sales of $822,203 .
Vintage NASA photographs were strong, especially the nice Selection of “Red Number” Examples we were pleased to offer. The definite “star” of this category was the iconic Apollo 8 “Earthrise” Photo (NASA Image AS8-14-2383) of the earth above the moon’s horizon, taken by Bill Anders on Christmas Eve 1968 from lunar orbit. This is one of the most reproduced images of the twentieth century and one tenacious bidder laid claim to this early red number print for $10,625. Another exciting lot was a Collection of Sixteen Apollo 11 Photos (twelve red number and four blue number) which included an example of the famous Buzz Aldrin “visor” portrait. Six bidders competed for the group before one took it home for $7,812.
Robbins Medallions are always a popular category. In this auction, two examples made particularly strong showings. A beautiful Unflown Apollo 15 Medal partially minted with flown “treasure” silver from a 1715 Spanish treasure shipwreck ingot closed at $7,500. A rare Flown STS-6 Space Shuttle Challenger Medal (one of only sixty-seven carried on the mission) brought in $11,250. Of particular interest, a notarized presentation letter signed by the entire four-man crew accompanied this one. This was the first from this mission that Heritage has offered in ten years of Space auctions.
One-of-a-kind items are always difficult to estimate and there were a few in this sale that performed quite a bit better than our best guess. Project Mercury was represented in this category by a Capsule Flight Operations Manual that sold for $10,625. At what price would two sets of Gemini Spacecraft Crew Hatch Door Assembly Shingles and their associated blueprints be valued? The answer, supplied by six eager bidders, is $11,250.
(7) HELSINKI BOUND TRAVELER SEEKS ADVICE. Daniel Dern has asked me to put out his request for information, as in, “Seeking European SIM card suggestions for Helsinki Worldcon”.
I’m sure I’m not the only fan who’s not a frequent international (here, “not living in Finland”) traveler, trying to suss out a reasonable (as in “affordable” and “non-complex”) answer to having (moderate) cellular connectivity during and pre/post-Worldcon.
Here’s my particular constraints/deets (obviously, YMMV):
o Aside from Worldcon, looking at ~2 weeks in Denmark/Norway/Sweden.
o I’m in the US. However, since a) my carrier is AT&T, whose international rates are excessive, and/but b) not planning to bring my primary phone, so a) is moot. Yes, I know that being a T-Mobile’s customer would be a simple, goodly-priced answer, but that’s not an option here.
o I’ll be packing an unlocked Android phone. Probably my Moto G4, if I can find it. That’s what I’m looking for a pre-paid refillable SIM card for.
o Initial landing is Copenhagen.
o Main cellular uses: for brief local phone calls to restaurants, etc, and texting “where are you?” etc. Some data. Everything else can be done using Skype (and other VoiPs), etc over WiFi.
o Probably looking for a multi-country 30-day pass with 1 or 2GB data and some local phone, ideally unlimited texting.
Web search is turning up bunches of suggestions, but other than wading through comments, I have no clue. Experienced Eurotravellers, what say ye?
(8) TRIVIAL TRIVIA
There’s a lot to know about Forbidden Planet’s Robby the Robot/. Like, who was inside?
“One of the first things you do when you design a robot or monster,” [Art Director Robert] Kinoshita recalled in an interview, “is to try to confuse the audience as to where you put the guy inside. It’s difficult to completely fool an audience because they know there is someone inside. But if you make an effort to confuse them it can work in your favor and make the whole creation more believable. Robby was designed so that the man inside could see out of the voice box below the glass head.” Although many people were fooled by Robby’s disproportionate form, he was controlled by Frankie Darro from inside, and his voice was provided by talented actor and announcer Marvin Miller, who gave Robby that distinctive, sophisticated wit so loved and remembered by audiences everywhere.
(9) STALKING THE WILD GANACHE. Gourmet chocoholic Camestros Felapton gives Americans an advance look — “Review: Kinder Joy — eating refined sugar so you don’t have to”.
For those of us outside of the US, the Kinder Surprise egg is a familiar sight. A thin chocolate egg which encases a plastic capsule within which is a small toy. Often you have to assemble the toy and sometimes they are themed collectibles. The chocolate itself — well it’s is an acquired taste. Mass manufactured chocolate is one of those paradoxically regional things.
Americans have not had ready access to Kinder Surpises because of the dangers of them eating the encased toy accidentally. However, the more recent Kinder Joy egg has sidestepped the problem. It retains the egg shape but has two seperate halves — one with chocolate (sort of) in it and the other with a toy.
Wednesday I saw one in the wild and bought one and ate the bits you are supposed to eat. This is my story….
(10) INVISIBLE COVER REVEAL. Jim C. Hines and Mary Anne Mohanraj have revealed the cover and contributors list for Invisible 3, the third volume of collected stories shared by authors and fans “about the importance of representation in science fiction/fantasy.” See the image at the link.
The introduction is by K. Tempest Bradford. The contributors are Alex Conall, Alliah, Alyssa Hillary, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Brandon O’Brien, Carrie Sessarego, Chelsea Alejandro, Dawn Xiana Moon, Fran Wilde, Jaime O. Mayer, Jennifer Cross, Jeremy Sim, Jo Gerrard, Mari Kurisato, MT O’Shaughnessy, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sean Robinson, and T. S. Bazelli.
There isn’t an official release date yet. Hines says that will be coming very soon.
(11) TO INFINITY. Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s space opera collection Infinite Stars is available for pre-order. I thought the table of contents looked pretty interesting — it helps that Lois McMaster Bujold’s Borders of Infinity is one of my favorite sf stories.
(12) BAD WRAP. Entertainment Weekly reports “The Mummy reboot slammed as ‘worst Tom Cruise movie ever’ by critics”. Quotes at the site.
After spending over three decades dazzling audiences across large-scale action-adventures on the big screen, Tom Cruise’s latest genre spectacle, The Mummy, is set to unravel in theaters this Friday. Movie critics, however, got a peek under wraps this week, as movie reviews for the blockbuster project debuted online Wednesday morning. The consensus? According to a vast majority of them, perhaps this romp should’ve remained buried.
(13) NAPOLEON DID SURRENDER. James Davis Nicoll sends along a link to The Watchtower restaurant website, a nerd-themed tavern in Waterloo, Ontario.
They have a fantasy-themed origin story.
Their plethora of monthly events includes Nerd Nite.
On the final Wednesday of every month, KW’s own Nerd Nite takes over the Watchtower. Join us for unique, informative, and entertaining presentations, trivia, and socializing in a fun, positive, and inclusive atmosphere. Presentations are done on a ton of nerdy topics!
They also have a series of YouTube videos of their barmaster making some of their signature drinks.
(14) ROLL THE BONES. One researcher says, “There is no Garden of Eden in Africa. Or if there is a Garden of Eden it’s the size of Africa. — “Oldest Homo sapiens fossils ever found push humanity’s birth back to 300,000 years” at USA Today.
Digging on a hilltop in the Sahara Desert, scientists have found the most ancient known members of our own species, undermining longstanding ideas about the origins of humanity.
The newfound Homo sapiens fossils — three young adults, one adolescent and a child of 7 or 8 — date back roughly 300,000 years, says a study in this week’s Nature. The next-oldest fossils of Homo sapiens, the scientific name for humans, are about 200,000 years old.
(15) NEST UNFEATHERED. The argument goes on: “Study casts doubt on the idea of ‘big fluffy T. rex'”
Primitive feathers have been identified in some members of the Tyrannosaur group, leading to speculation that the king of reptiles also sported feathers.
In the latest twist, researchers analysed skin impressions from a T.rex skeleton known as Wyrex, unearthed in Montana.
They also looked at relatives that roamed during the Late Cretaceous in Asia and other parts of North America, including Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus.
Skin patches from the neck, pelvis and tail of Wyrex show scaly, reptilian-like skin, says a team led by Dr Phil Bell of the University of New England, Australia.
(16) BOND. 20 LB. BOND. Is your printer tattling on you? “Why printers add secret tracking dots”.
On 3 June, FBI agents arrived at the house of government contractor Reality Leigh Winner in Augusta, Georgia. They had spent the last two days investigating a top secret classified document that had allegedly been leaked to the press. In order to track down Winner, agents claim they had carefully studied copies of the document provided by online news site The Intercept and noticed creases suggesting that the pages had been printed and “hand-carried out of a secured space”.
In an affidavit, the FBI alleges that Winner admitted printing the National Security Agency (NSA) report and sending it to The Intercept. Shortly after a story about the leak was published, charges against Winner were made public.
At that point, experts began taking a closer look at the document, now publicly available on the web. They discovered something else of interest: yellow dots in a roughly rectangular pattern repeated throughout the page. They were barely visible to the naked eye, but formed a coded design. After some quick analysis, they seemed to reveal the exact date and time that the pages in question were printed: 06:20 on 9 May, 2017 — at least, this is likely to be the time on the printer’s internal clock at that moment. The dots also encode a serial number for the printer.
(17) A CLASSIC. Bruce Gillespie’s SF Commentary #94, 60,000 words of lively book talk and analysis, is available for download from eFanzines.com:
[Thanks to JJ, Chip Hitchcock, David K.M. Klaus, Daniel Dern, Gideon Marcus, John King Tarpinian, Mark-kitteh, and James Davis Nicoll for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jayn.]