(1) TED’S HOUSE SAVED. A copy of Ted White’s thank-you to supporters of his GoFundMe comes via Andrew Porter.
My thanks and my gratitude to all of you who helped me meet my goal within one day. I’m flabbergasted. I’m still getting my head around it.
But I must point out to everyone who has proffered Joel [Zakem]’s advice that I am not the legal owner of my house. My daughter is (I have the lifetime right of occupancy — for as long as I keep the taxes paid). For this reason I have been unable to qualify for tax abatement.
The moment I move out of the house, it will revert to my daughter, who will sell it to developers who will tear it down and build two separate houses on the adjoining lots and sell each for over a million bucks. I expect I’ll be dead by then.
In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks.
(2) AMBITIOUS COMIC CON. The Outdoor Retailers Show was formerly the largest event in Utah, generating $45M each July between hotel, dining and touring. They left over a public lands debate.
Conrunners Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg wrote on Linkedin that “Salt Lake Comic Con Can Fill the Void of Outdoor Retailers Exit”. They are scheduled to make a presentation before the Utah Legislature to promote their ideas, which might become one of the largest fannish public/private initiatives in the country.
…It’s a shame that Outdoor Retailer has left the state. Let’s fill that void with a world class comic con event. We can do this.
…We believe this creates an opportunity for us to step up and take advantage of an industry that is already thriving in Utah and make it even more beneficial to the state and its residents. We believe we can build something that will have much more impact if we are able to line up the type of support that Outdoor Retailers had here. Salt Lake Comic Con is only three years old and we’ve already helped generated tens of millions of dollars in economic impact to the area.”
Right now we are the largest comic con per capita in the world. The people of Salt Lake City and Utah are used to doing more with less. We are one of the top economies in the country, #1 for volunteerism, a top outdoor destination, best skiing on earth, have the internationally renowned Sundance film festival and one of the top locations for movies. But most importantly, Utah is the nerdiest state in the country. Let’s take all the successes and resources to become one of the top comic con destinations in the world.
(3) VON DIMPLEHEIMER’S LIST OF LISTS. Eric von Dimpleheimer has assembled another masterpiece which you can download free. He explains:
I began putting together an ebook of the various 2016 recommendation lists and sorting them by magazine (with some links to free stories), but as I kept coming across more recommendations, I abandoned the Sisyphean project. It is still useful (to me at least) and I thought others might be interested in it. I included two of Rocket Stack Rank’s annotated lists and Greg from Rocket Stack Rank is OK with me including them as long as the ebooks are free, which they are.
I want to stress that the ebooks are NOT finished or free from errors, but they are as complete as I am likely to make them. Anyone is free to add to or alter the ebooks as they see fit, as long as links to the sites of the original listmakers remain (or in a few cases, better links are found.)
(4) MIND MELD. Shana DuBois has organized a new installment of this classic feature – “Mind Meld: Fresh Perspectives on Common Tropes” at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
Tell us about a book, or books, that flipped SF/F/H on its head, approaching a common trope from such a fresh perspective you couldn’t stop thinking about it: What fresh methods did the book(s) use to look at the world anew?
Answering the question are Sofia Samatar, Max Gladstone, Joyce Chng, Jaime Lee Moyer, and Rachel Swirsky.
(5) BLOWN UP, SIR! Think of Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet made with transparent balloons. Then go to io9 and see the pictures – “Just Let This Little Girl’s Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Costume Win Every Contest”.
(6) THE SHADOW JURY KNOWS. The Shadow Clarke shortlists are starting to come thick and fast:
…But first, my six in alphabetical order by author surname:
The Power — Naomi Alderman (Penguin Viking)
I hummed and hawed the most about including this book on the list. It seems to be another example of one type of book that has done well in the Clarke during recent years; the kind of novel that features one or more young female protagonists and reflects on aspects of a patriarchal society in a manner that can be compared with the work of the Award’s first winner, Margaret Atwood. Indeed, Alderman was actually mentored by Atwood during the writing of the novel. Moreover, it might be argued that The Power is simply a provocative what-if story that turns on a gimmick. However, any such reading would miss the book’s capacity to mix raw excitement with complexity and subtlety. The combination of the framing narrative and the unforgettable illustrations is worth the price of admission alone.
I sat at my computer last Tuesday morning, flicking between my work and the Clarke Award twitter feed, waiting for the submissions list to drop. When it finally did and I clicked through, with trepidation and a flicker of excitement, my first thought was: there are fewer eye-catching features in the Award’s 2016 landscape than I was hoping for. By which I mean, the list felt very flat.
As I scrolled down the 86 submitted books the wildcard submissions seemed fewer and further between than in recent years. The avalanche of self-published works that some anticipated didn’t materialise – submissions were actually down this year overall – but it looked as though a lot of other submissions hadn’t materialised either. A brief and unscientific comparison between 2016 and 2017 lists for example, seems to suggest a decrease in submissions from ‘mainstream’ or non-genre imprints – 36 in 2016, 28 in 2017 (with 20 imprints and 17 imprints submitting respectively). There were some books in this category notably absent. The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan (William Heinemann) for one, Hystopia by David Means (Faber & Faber) for another. I’d also hoped that Salt might take a punt on Wyl Menmuir’s uncanny dystopian fable The Many; and Galley Beggar Press on Forbidden Line by Paul Stanbridge. The fact that the ratio of books by women has fallen this year (from 33% of the total to 28%) may be attributable to the drop in submissions from non-specialist imprints who, as a fellow shadow juror pointed out to me, are far more likely to publish female writers of SF.
My shortlist is primarily based on optimism– being impressed by the multiple things these novels are attempting to do– and, to quote Nina Allan’s recent introduction, “to pay sufficient attention to the ‘novel’ part of the equation.” It includes books I might not love, but I would like to see discussed in relation to more popular books that have a better chance of landing on the official shortlist. I have followed only one firm rule: I will not include any previous Clarke award winners. This omits Chris Beckett, Paul McAuley, China Miéville, Claire North, Christopher Priest, and Tricia Sullivan. In a couple of cases, this rule made my shortlist picks more difficult, but I’m a big proponent of the one-and-done rule (or won-and-done, rather) because it’s only too obvious SF awards culture likes to chase its tail.
(7) THE ENTERTAINER. Larry Correia’s Toastmaster speech at the Gala Banquet at Life, The Universe and Everything (LTUE 2017) is available on YouTube.
(8) STARGAZING. The Google Doodlers had fun with the discovery of seven exoplanets at Trappist-1.
(9) SUSAN CASPER OBIT. Philadelphia author Susan Casper (1947-2017), wife of Gardner Dozois for 47 years, passed away February 24.
Announcing her death on Facebook, Dozois said: “She was an extremely tough woman, and fought through an unbelievable amount of stuff in the last couple of years, but this last illness was just too much for her fading strength to overcome.”
She was the author of two dozen published stories. Her 1994 novella “Up the Rainbow” took sixth place in Asimov’s annual Readers Poll.
Her fiction in collaboration with Gardner Dozois is part of Slow Dancing through Time (1990), which includes one collaboration with both Dozois and Jack M Dann.
She served as a Tiptree Award judge in 1994.
There will be no viewing or funeral service, but there will be a memorial gathering in the future.
Susan Casper. Photo by and copyright © Andrew Porter.
(10) MARTIN DEUTSCH OBIT. Courtesy of Dale Arnold:
Martin Deutsch, President of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, died February 24. He had been receiving chemotherapy for a bone marrow condition for several weekly cycles of treatment and his doctor was optimistic, but fate intervened.
The night before he had reported being very tired, but intending to meet with the BSFS Treasurer that morning as previously scheduled. He had also said he would be attending the BSFS book discussion on Saturday, but might need to borrow one of the wheelchairs BSFS keeps around for people who need them at Balticon to get into the building. However, the morning of the 24th before the BSFS Treasurer arrived Martin passed out in his favorite chair and died before medical assistance arrived. It is reported that there was little pain.
Martin was first elected as President of BSFS in 1980 and served continuously since then leading the meetings with his own twist on formal meeting rules. He never tired of building things for BSFS and Balticon and many of the fixtures and displays at the convention, particularly in the art show which he ran for many years with his wife Shirley Avery, were his inspiration made manifest. During the most recent election of BSFS officers Martin said he was not ready to give up yet and indeed his spirit never gave up.
(11) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY
- February 24, 1786 — Wilhelm Grimm was born, one of The Brothers Grimm.
(12) TODAY IN ALTERNATE HISTORY
- February 24, 1989 — The body of Laura Palmer is discovered in Twin Peaks, WA.
(13) NOW WITH SUBTRACTED GOODNESS. MovieWeb passes along the scuttlebutt – “Unaltered Original Star Wars Trilogy to Be Re-Released Before Last Jedi?”
This year not only brings Star Wars fans a new theatrical adventure in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but also a number of new books and, of course, another Force Friday event happening this fall, but that’s not all. This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of the original Star Wars, with the anniversary celebration kicking off at Star Wars Celebration, which runs from April 13 through April 16 in Orlando, Florida. If a new rumor is believed to be true, LucasFilm may be making a big announcement about the 40th anniversary soon, with plans apparently under way to release a new Blu-ray set with the theatrical versions of the original trilogy films.
(14) HERE’S THE PITCH. From MLB.com — “Five baseball movies you probably haven’t seen that (mostly) deserve watching”. Martin Morse Wooster sent the link and a couple of comments:
- The fine film Battlefield Baseball HAS to be seen (or at least the trailer does).
The MLB.com description reads —
It’s kind of like “Friday Night Lights” in that it’s about high school sports rivalries. But it differs in one crucial way: The game doesn’t end until the opposing team is dead. Oh yeah, the synopsis also sounds like a Stefon sketch. “Battlefield Baseball” features zombies, deadly baseball equipment and that thing where a pitcher throws a lethal pitch known as the “Super Tornado.”
- The clip from Rhubarb does have Leonard Nimoy — in 1951!
There’s a good (very short) view of him about 2:10
(15) INCLUDES SEMIPRO AND FAN RECS. Shaun Duke has assembled a crowdsourced “2017 Hugo Awards Reading / Viewing List”.
As I did last year, I have begun to compile a big massive (and, indeed, very sexy) list of all the books, stories, comics, movies, fans, etc. suggested to me via my recent 2017 Hugo Awards Recommendations form. The following is by no means a comprehensive list, as it is based on suggestions by readers. If something is missing, let me know in the comments.
(16) PROBLEM DAUGHTERS ANTHOLOGY CANCELED. Nicolette Barischoff and Rivqa Rafael made the announcement in their “Statement on the Dissolution of the Problem Daughters Anthology”.
Unfortunately, the Problem Daughters project has been canceled, and Nicolette Barischoff and Rivqa Rafael have parted ways with Djibril al-Ayad and FutureFire.net Publishing. This decision was extremely painful, and not taken lightly in consideration of the many wonderful, generous people who helped us get to this point. Unfortunately, the ideological differences between the involved parties have proved insurmountable, leaving us no choice but to end this collaboration.
We apologize to all of you who feel let down by this decision — our backers, our potential contributors and just anyone who wanted to read this book. We did, too.
Everyone who backed the project will be contacted as soon as possible so we can arrange a refund. We ask for your patience as we undergo this process.
Once again, we thank you for your support, and apologize for this inconvenience and disappointment.
Publisher The Future Fire also posted that the anthology is permanently closed to submissions.
The editors of the Problem Daughters, Djibril al-Ayad, Rivqa Rafael, and Nicolette Barischoff were behind the “Intersectional SFF Roundtable” for Apex Magazine that was taken down after Likhain’s open letter to the editor protesting the involvement of Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Apex Magazine editor Jason Sizemore issued an apology, and briefly there also was an apology signed the three editors on The Future Fire site, now only readable in the Google cache file. The gist of their apology was that they were sorry for not including a black woman in a panel about intersectionality. The controversy about Sriduangkaew’s participation was not addressed.
(17) BE YOUR OWN BBC STATION. Michael O’Donnell recommends these BBC radio programs currently available on the BBC iPlayer.
In “I Was Philip K Dick’s Reluctant Host”, Michael Walsh – a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper – talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.
Discovering that Dick’s wife had walked out on him, that he had nowhere to go and was also suffering deep addiction problems, Michael invited Philip to stay with him and his wife Susan at their home in Vancouver.
It would go on to be one of the most challenging experiences of Michael’s life, as drug dependency, unwanted advances on Michael’s wife and unpredictable mood swings made the period something of an emotional rollercoaster for the wary hosts – but also fascinating insight into one of Sci-Fi’s greatest ever visionaries.
Clarke Peters (The Wire, Treme) reads The Underground Railroad, the new novel by Colson Whitehead. This brilliant and at times brutal novel about the history of slavery and racism in America won the US National Book Award for Fiction in 2016.
“What if the underground railroad was a literal railroad? And what if each state, as a runaway slave was going north, was a different state of American possibility, an alternative America?”
Whitehead’s inventive novel follows Cora and Caesar as they escape from a Georgia slave plantation and run north in pursuit of freedom, aided by the stationmasters and conductors of the Underground Railroad.
Vintage sci-fi serial from 1961.
“A glimpse across a weird threshold, on the rim of space where there should be nothing but eternal, frozen darkness. Yet where there was something more…..”
Newspaper reporter, Tom Lambert has decided to reinvestigate the strange events of ten years before, concerning the “cosmic noise”. Believing the inside story was never told, he’s tracked down the only man who knows, Dr Hayward Petrie.
Told in flashbacks, the story unfolds from Dr Petrie’s own recordings of the time when the detection of a strange pattern of signals sparks a mysterious discovery…
[Thanks to Michael O’Donnell, JJ, Daniel Dern, David Doering, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, Moshe Feder, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Kip W.]