(1) ROAD TRIP. Made it to San Jose, delayed by a flat tire coming down the Grapevine, which led to getting help from AAA and buying replacement tires in Bakersfield (the temporary spare has limited mileage). I had time to realize that I was on the I-5 just about opposite where Bruce Pelz’ van had a flat on the return trip from the Vancouver Westercon of 1977. Fannish symmetry.
(2) IT’S LIT. Now all I need is an explanation….
— Worldcon 76 San Jose (@worldcon2018) August 15, 2018
(3) NOT YOUNG PEOPLE. James Davis Nicoll continues to flip the script, having “old people” read and react to Amal El-Mohtar’s “”Seasons of Glass and Iron”.
The third piece in Old People Read New SFF is Amal El-Mohtar’s 2016 Seasons of Glass and Iron. To paraphrase Wikipedia:
Seasons won the 2016 Nebula Award for Best Short Story, the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, and the 2017 Locus Award for Best Short Story. It was also shortlisted for the 2017 World Fantasy Award—Short Fiction, the 2017 Aurora Award for Best Short Fiction, and the 2017 Theodore Sturgeon Award.
A fairy tale—two fairy tales—retold to modern sensibility, it scratched the same itch for me Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood did decades ago. It was therefore almost certain that I would enjoy it. The laundry list of awards suggested that I was not alone in this. If there is one thing I’ve learned from this ongoing project, it’s that reality and expectations often diverge. What did my Old People actually think of this story?
(4) CLARION W. Frank Catalano tells GeekWire readers about Clarion West: “How this workshop creates some of the world’s top sci-fi and fantasy writers, inside a Seattle house”.
This and every summer around the first of August, 18 students leave a house in Seattle’s University District, after an intense six weeks in a crucible of creativity. Graduates over the past three decades have gone on to write bestselling novels, win science fiction and fantasy’s major awards, and become well-respected editors.
The Clarion West Summer Workshop may be the least-showy, most-influential contributor to the worlds of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in the universe.
“Probably our most famous current grad is Ann Leckie because her first book, right out the door, got the Nebula, the Clarke Award, the Hugo and the British fantasy and science fiction award,” said Neile Graham, Clarion West workshop director since 2001.
Catalano says, “I felt Clarion West is an under-appreciated gem in both Seattle proper, as well as in the tech community in general. So I wanted to draw attention to its decades of work.”
(5) DIRDA COLUMN. The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda says “This is getting weird: Critics on horror, science fiction and fantasy”:
Fantasy, horror and science fiction are porous genres, allowing for, and even encouraging, cross-fertilization. H.G. Wells’s “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” for instance, could be classified under any of these three rubrics. To circumvent so much categorical fuzziness, John Clute, the theoretically minded co-editor of “The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction,” came up with the useful umbrella term “fantastika.” What follows here, then, is a briefly annotated list of some recent critical books about fantastika.
No one knows more about M.R. James, author of the best ghost stories in English, than Rosemary Pardoe. In The Black Pilgrimage and Other Explorations (Shadow Publishing) she collects her “essays on supernatural fiction,” many of which reflect her careful research into the textual complexities and historical context of James’s imaginative writing.
(6) LIGHTNING STRIKING AGAIN AND AGAIN. Sci FI Bloggers’ Alice Rosso picks the “TOP 5 Ways to Destroy New York City”.
Number 1: Apocalypse, The Day After Tomorrow.
Man has pushed it too far; because of a non-returning point reached in the Global Warming, the earth is doomed to experience a new Ice Age, in which waters and freezing temperature will devastate the entire planet. The first scene that comes to mind when thinking about this movie is the gigantic wall of water that invades New York City, destroying everything on its way, soaking the Statue of Liberty and trapping our protagonists in the famous Public Library. The world is devastated by nature and New York is the first to become an icicle.
(7) DUNE ON TABLETOP AGAIN. Eric Franklin says, “It’s been about twenty years since we had a new licensed Dune game (the Dune Collectible Card Game was released in 1997, the RPG was released in 2000), so it’s about time.” IcV has the story: “Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’ Comes To Tabletop”.
“This is only the beginning of our big plans in tabletop for this captivating franchise,” said John-Paul Brisigotti, CEO of GF9. “Dune is a rich and wonderful universe, and we expect to produce an equally expansive and inspired line of games for years to come.”
“Gale Force Nine has consistently demonstrated a skill and passion for building successful tabletop game series alongside category leading partners and we are thrilled to announce this exciting addition to the Dune licensing program,” said Jamie Kampel, Vice President of Licensing & Partnerships for Legendary. “Legendary looks forward to a fun and meaningful contribution to this revered legacy property.”
The full range of products, including board and miniatures games, are scheduled to release just prior to the upcoming Dune theatrical release in 2020. GF9 plans to align with other game companies in numerous categories and formats for future releases as well.
(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS
- Born August 15, 1896 – Leon Theremin. Inventor of the instrument figuring in such genre films as The Thing From Another World, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T, Forbidden Planet, Batman Forever, Mars Attacks! and Ghostbusters.
- Born August 15 – Zeljko Ivanek, 61. First genre role was on The X-Files, some of his other genre appearances include Millennium, From the Earth to the Moon miniseries, Hannibal, Twilight Zone, Lost, Heroes, Revolution, True Blood, X-Men: Apocalyse and Twelve Monkeys.
- Born August 15 – Natasha Henstridge, 44. Genre work includes series such as Homeboys in Outer Space, The Outer Limits, Time Jumper (anyone seen this?), The Secret Circle, the newest Beauty and the Beast and Medinah.
- Born August 15 – Jennifer Lawrence, 28. First genre role was in the Medium series, also has appeared in the Hunger Games and X-Men film franchises.
(9) HE LIKES THE BUS. James Davis Nicoll (working overtime today!) told Tor.com readers “Not On Your Life: Six Means of SF Transportation I Would Not Use”. He does not want to be a plasma jet / He would not ride that on a bet…. Here’s an example:
Subatomic Particle Energy
Bob Shaw’s A Wreath of Stars (1976) and Gregory Benford’s The Stars in Shroud (1978) use similar conceits, if for rather different purposes. In Wreath, conversion from regular matter to anti-neutrinos3 affords its protagonist escape from an irate dictator. He finds himself in an intangible world (which is doomed, so it wasn’t much of an escape). In the Benford novel, conversion to tachyons allows faster than light travel. In addition to issues I will discuss in a later essay, both of these technologies have the same apparent drawback, namely: unless the process is absolutely instant (I don’t see how it could be) this would probably shear all the complex molecules and chemical structures in one’s meatsack body, as different bits are converted at slightly different times. Do not want to be converted to mush, fog, or plasma. No thanks.
(10) 1948. Pros at the first Toronto Worldcon.
L. RON HUBBBARD: DID YOU KNOW?
Ron (upper left) attended the 1948 World Con in Toronto with (top) John Campbell, Sam Moskowitz, Murray Leinster (bottom) Willy Ley, Richard Wilson, Frank Belknap Long. #worldcon #LRonHubbard #authors pic.twitter.com/uIHGT0TkfE
— L. Ron Hubbard (@LRonHubbard) August 15, 2018
(11) VIDEO OF THE DAY. “Rang-Tan: the story of dirty palm oil” on YouTube is a cartoon narrated by Dame Emma Thompson about orangutans produced for Greenpeace
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, amk, JJ, Eric Franklin, James Davis Nicoll, Cat Eldridge, Martin Morse Wooster, Mike Kennedy, Chip Hitchcock, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Patrick Morris Miller.]